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MPA Makes Major Push for Site Blocking in the United States

MPA Makes push for site blocking in the US

The MPA (Motion Picture Association) is working with members of Congress to create a bill that would force Internet Service Providers to block access to websites that provide illegal streaming content.

This new legislation is a second attempt to bring site blocking to the United States after the first attempts in 2011, titled the “Stop Online Piracy Act” and the “Protect Intellectual Property Act” ultimately fizzled out before becoming law.

Opponents of the bill raised concerns about free speech issues and censorship as many expressed fear that these laws could have huge implications on the public’s First Amendment rights and more.

SOPA

However, the latest attempt to include site blocking by the MPA aims to remove any “gray areas” regarding the removal of sites and will only do so if a court deems the website is actively infringing on the rightsholder’s content.

This was a major topic at the 2024 CinemaCon “State of the Industry” event and MPA Chairman & CEO Charles Rivkin addressed it in detail:

So today, here with you at CinemaCon, I’m announcing the next major phase of this effort: the MPA is going to work with Members of Congress to enact judicial site-blocking legislation here in the United States.

For anybody unfamiliar with the term, site-blocking is a targeted, legal tactic to disrupt the connection between digital pirates and their intended audience. It allows all types of creative industries – film and television, music and book publishers, sports leagues and broadcasters – to request, in court, that internet service providers block access to websites dedicated to sharing illegal, stolen content.

Let’s be clear: this approach focuses only on sites featuring stolen materials. There are no gray areas here. Site-blocking does not impact legitimate businesses or ordinary internet users. To the contrary: it protects them, too.

And it does so within the bounds of due process, requiring detailed evidence establishing a target’s illegal activities and allowing alleged perpetrators to appear in a court of law. This is not an untested concept.

Site-blocking is a common tool in almost 60 countries, including leading democracies and many of America’s closest allies.

What key player is missing from that roster? Take a look at the map behind me. It’s us!

There’s no good reason for our glaring absence. No reason beyond a lack of political will, paired with outdated understandings of what site-blocking actually is, how it functions, and who it affects.

Yet experiences worldwide have now answered these concerns and taught us unmistakable lessons: Site-blocking works. It dramatically reduces traffic on piracy sites. It substantially increases visits to legal sites. Simply put, this is a powerful tool to defend what our filmmakers create and what reaches your theaters.

As noted in his speech, Rivkin is confident these site-blocking measures will work and cites the dozens of countries across the world that use illegal website-blocking measures. Currently, over 40 countries, including the UK, Canada, and South Korea, have enacted site-blocking legislation.

website blocking map
Source: ITIF.org

The site-blocking legislation proposed by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) acknowledges the challenges and criticisms it faces, taking into account the previous defeat of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in 2012. However, the MPA is confident that the concerns over free speech and censorship have been effectively addressed in other countries where site-blocking legislation is already in effect.

This isn’t the first time the MPA has targeted online piracy, using various tactics in the past to remove websites and streaming platforms.

Mobsters, Organized Crime Syndicates, Child Pornographers, Malware and Hackers

Rivkin continued to rant on the issues associated with these “pirate” streaming websites that not only provide access to illicit streaming content but are also connected to organized crime outlets, he claims.

Remember, these aren’t teenagers playing an elaborate prank. The perpetrators are real-life mobsters, organized crime syndicates, many of whom engage in child pornography, prostitution, drug trafficking, and other societal ills…

They operate websites that draw in millions of unsuspecting viewers whose personal data can then fall prey to malware and hackers.

These enterprises are engaged in insidious forms of theft, breaking laws each time they steal and share protected content. These activities are nefarious by any definition, detrimental to our industry by any standard, and dangerous for the rights of creators and consumers by any measure…

Mobsters, organized crime syndicates, child pornographers, prostitution, drug trafficking, malware and hackers. Hundreds of thousands of jobs stolen from workers and tens of billions of dollars from the U.S. economy

Rivkin provides no evidence for his claims and we have seen these fear tactics used in the past, including the “BeStreamWise” campaign in the United Kingdom that used the slogan “Illegal Streams Let Criminals In”.

New Anti-Piracy Campaign Claims Illegal Streams Let Criminals In

How will Site-Blocking Work?

Many are curious as to the exact process that would be required to get an illicit streaming site blocked by their Internet Service Provider. While details are not fully clear, there is a plan in place that would require oversight by a federal judge.

Ultimately, a copyright holder would propose an order to block a certain website that is infringing on its rights by hosting their content without proper authorization.

If Internet Service Providers or members of the public disagree with the proposed block, they have a chance to respond with why and the burden will shift to the copyright holder to prove that their content is being infringed on.

If a judge grants the blocking order, it will then fall on the Internet Service Provider or other “middleman” to block access to the site from the public. Unlike traditional copyright litigation, no damages are sought by the copyright holder in these scenarios.

The goal is for the process to be much faster than originally expected and only take place over a matter of months instead of years.

It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the near future and the battle we expect to see between Internet Service Providers, the Motion Picture Association, and the public.


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This story was first reported by TorrentFreak.

We want to know what you think of this story and the proposed site-blocking measures in the United States. Do you think these will ever come to fruition? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Notable Replies

  1. “This new legislation is a second attempt to bring site blocking to the United States after the first attempts in 2011”

    So I guess the 3rd attempt will be in 2037? :rofl:

  2. Just a matter of time until they finally get their way.Gotta remember these billionaire movie companies can help make or break a political campaign.

  3. Yeah, but so can Google!

  4. With all the problems facing our country (border security, teenage crime, drug usage, inflation out of control, etc.) and the world (Russia/Ukraine, China/ Tiawan, Israel/ Palestine, the attacks on merchant ships, international hacking, etc.), this is what our Congress is concerned about? Really? The entire world is in a sad state of affairs and possible copyright infringement streaming is on the agenda? It just shows me that the billionaires are worried about money and not the general public. Who, incidentally, make up most of their money making spending.

  5. Yea I’d go so far as to lump them in the same category as the MPA,NAB,and big pharma.

  6. Avatar for mrtoo mrtoo says:

    I thought the current administration wanted to return Net Neutrality?

  7. They do.
    The problem is the other party.

    The Democratic members of the FCC are trying to reinstitute neutrality.

  8. Avatar for mrtoo mrtoo says:

    Net neutrality would not support MPA request. Who supports MPA site blocking?

  9. As of now, the suppliers of content…and members of both parties have their hands out for their money.

  10. Net neutrality is in nearly 100% of this board’s personal interests.

  11. Avatar for jos2 jos2 says:

    Another excuse to get in our business. Next thing you know they be asking to see what I’m looking for over the internet. For them is a “loss” when they don’t reach their planned FY earning because they planned to earn certain amount and it can’t be reached because people can’t afford to go to the movies. Instead of lowering prices so people can afford they increase prices but expect everyone to go…, now that’s greed at its finest…

  12. Avatar for AJS1 AJS1 says:

    I would like to see how the due process would play. When the company they want to restrict is based in China. Is that company going to be required to come the United States and face Court, or the jurisdiction lands on China.?
    They have to have a court order before they can take any action.

  13. Soooo true !!! Need to pay these actors n actress less money.

  14. Totally Fubar

  15. It’s all about the Benjamin’s. $$$$$. Also Hollywood greed.

Continue the discussion at troypointinsider.com

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