TV & Film Piracy

Hollywood Studios Push for Congress to Pass Anti-Piracy Bill

Hollywood studios are gearing up for a renewed battle against online piracy. The Motion Picture Association (MPA), representing major movie studios, announced plans to collaborate with Congress on legislation that blocks access to websites that allow illegal sharing of copyrighted films and TV shows.

How the Anti-Piracy Law Would Work

The proposed law would allow copyright holders to petition to restrict consumer access to sites dedicated to enabling piracy. Internet service providers and the public would have opportunities to respond, with the burden on rights holders to prove a site’s illicit purpose. If approved, ISPs would then implement technical measures to deny access.

MPA chief Charles Rivkin says that the initiative challenges the view that piracy is a “victimless crime.” He points out that online piracy threatens the livelihoods of industry workers from actors to craftspeople.

A Newer, Narrower Anti-Piracy Law

This type of legislation was attempted a decade ago with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). At the time, concerns about free expression and overreach succeeded in killing the bill. However, the MPA ensures this new legislation is “much narrower” than SOPA. The proposed law focuses exclusively on clearly infringing sites rather than policing the open internet. The MPA points to over 50 countries, including Canada and the UK, that have enacted similar laws that use domain blocking as an anti-piracy strategy.

Anti-Piracy Bill Success Stories

While the Digital Millennium Copyright Act provides some recourse for rights holders, the MPA argues those measures are toothless against foreign piracy havens. The countries that enacted similar legislation were able to shut down over 90,000 domains that engaged in copyright infringement. In testimony last year, the MPA noted that piracy costs the US economy as many as 560,000 jobs.  

The Hollywood Reporter – Winston Cho – April 10, 2024

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