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Movie industry sets out piracy priorities in submission to US report on pirated goods

By | Published on Tuesday 6 August 2019


Organisations representing the American movie industry have made a joint submission to the US Department Of Commerce, which is working on a report on the “trafficking of counterfeit and pirated goods through online marketplaces and internet intermediaries”. The film and TV companies want to ensure that said report looks at online piracy as well as the sale of physical counterfeit goods through the net.

“Although there are differences between counterfeiting and piracy, as well as between hard-goods piracy and online piracy”, they write, “a number of measures could help mitigate all such intellectual property infringement. [Therefore] we ask that the final report, and any administration action, address online piracy in addition to counterfeiting and piracy of hard goods”.

The organisations putting their name to the submission are the Motion Picture Association Of America, The Independent Film & Television Alliance, CreativeFuture and the union for American performers and media types, SAG-AFTRA.

They list four main priorities, kicking off with safe harbour. However, the submission makes a relatively modest request regarding those internet companies that facilitate IP infringement but which, because of the safe harbour, cannot be held liable for the infringing activity.

“We request”, they write, that “the administration continue urging user-generated content platforms and internet intermediaries to collaborate with the creative community on voluntary best practices to curb copyright infringement”.

Other than YouTube and its ilk, the other “internet intermediaries” the film industry groups have in mind include payment processors, online advertising networks, online marketplaces, domain name providers, web hosting services, reverse proxy providers and social media.

Additional requests in the document include that the US government “encourage the Department Of Justice to bring criminal actions against entities engaged in online copyright infringement”, and that “the level of copyright protection and enforcement abroad” be raised in all ongoing trade negotiations.

And finally, it asks the US government to put pressure on internet domain name overseer ICANN regarding information contained in its WHOIS database. The movie companies complain that “an over-application of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation” by some domain name registrars has made it harder for IP owners to access information about the operators of some websites.

To that end, it would like the administration to “persist in pressing ICANN to restore access to WHOIS data – which is essential to curbing piracy and illicit online conduct generally – and support legislation [forcing it to act] if ICANN fails to do so soon”.

It remains to be seen if the Department Of Commerce does indeed put the spotlight onto online piracy as part of its pirated goods report and – if so – whether it tackles the issues raised by the movie companies.

If it does, the music industry would likely push for more prolific action in some areas, particularly when it comes to the liabilities of safe harbour dwelling user-upload platforms.

Torrentfreak has published the full submission here.