YouTube has been singled out for a subpoena by Twentieth Century Fox, which wants to identify the user who uploaded episodes of 24 before they were even aired on TV.

The episodes didn't air until 14 and 15 January in the US, but could be found on YouTube by 8 January, uploaded by a user called ECOtotal, whose account has now been suspended.

Many YouTube users think they can safely and anonymously upload copyrighted material to the site without their identities being revealed because of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, but in actual fact, the provisions to protect identities was designed for websites who may not be able to control what is uploaded to their sites.

Individuals, on the other hand, are still responsible for what they upload and share.

Google, parent company of YouTube, has resisted subpoenas that request user names in the past, but did identify one user who uploaded clips from the film Twin Towers last year.

Although it's not known how ECOtotal got a hold of the episodes before they aired, as the DVD of the episodes was released on 16 January, it's likely that he or she got a hold of copies from the manufacturing or distribution chain.