Movie Industry Supports Pirate Site Blocking in the US

In response to an increase in online piracy, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property lead by U.S. Senator Thom Tillis decided to implement a pirate site blocking initiative aimed at driving out online piracy.

For over two decades, the DMCA sat and watched as artists lost millions of dollars in stolen revenue. All as a result of online piracy. Now they want change in the form of legislation meant to protect creative industries.

In response to this pressure, Tillis has committed to at least conduct a review of the available courses of action. The senator has many points of reference from foreign jurisdictions who have already enforced pirate site blocking.

Pirate Site Blocking Measures by the U.S. Senate

A duo of panels involving stakeholders from the tech and entertainment sectors allowed gatekeepers to actually share written testimonies on the effects of online piracy. Among the multitude of thoughts and perspectives expressed on these forums, pirate site blocking was top of the agenda.

An increasing number of countries and internet providers around the world have already blocked online piracy sites. This is part of their efforts to fight copyright infringements and illegal operations worldwide. But, in the US, where online piracy is rampant, there seems to be little to no intervention to try and solve this problem.

The Best Solution for Online Piracy

blocked pirate sites

When communicating with the Senate Subcommittee, President and Managing Director of the Motion Picture Association in the EMEA region Stan McCoy expressed that the site-blocking efforts of international associations are the best he has seen so far and wishes to implement them locally.

The great thing about this remedy is that it enables legal order for rights holders which means they can seek legal remedies for copyright infringement by following due process.

This takes the blame away from intermediaries like ISPs and places it solely on those actually responsible. It holds unlawful pirate sites responsible for their actions through remedies such as pirate site blocking.

This no-fault injunctive remedy is a popular method employed by numerous countries to fight online piracy. This includes Australia, the UK, Canada and various member states of the European Union.  

Pirate site blocking is arguably the most effective measure against online piracy. This is especially as it relates to the use and distribution of online content.

The latest research data shows that pirate site blocking has been shown to significantly reduce pirate site traffic due to the unavailability of said websites. In fact, this method can reduce traffic to the specific domain by up to 70% in most places and up to 90% in others.

That’s not all, however, as pirate site blocking has also been shown to increase traffic to legitimate websites that were formerly struggling due to online piracy sites. This is just another one of many reasons why many countries and territories around the world have adopted this highly effective anti-piracy technique.

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An Evidence-Based Approach

Much of the claims made about pirate site blocking are backed by reputable sources such as D. Michael D. Smith from Carnegie Mellon University. Keep in mind that this is someone who has personally published and reviewed multiple papers on pirate site blocking and other anti-piracy methods and their effectiveness.

The movie and entertainment industry as a whole consider pirate site blocking to be the best method to fight online piracy. This is especially when considering its high rate of effectiveness so far. Co-president of Millennium Media Jonathan Yunger also corroborated this testimony with his own backing of this technique.

Keep in mind that Millennium Media was at the forefront of lawsuits against known online piracy sites like YTS, as well as apps like Cotomovies, Popcorn Time and Showbox Time. Being the biggest independent film production company, it makes sense that Millennium Media would have a handle on the largest threats to the film and entertainment business.

What About DMCA?

Unfortunately, the DMCA hasn’t done much to curb online piracy. This means that it’s up to production companies like Millennium Media to take on the responsibility.

Otherwise, criminals will continue to steal, distribute and profit from the hard work of creatives in the film and entertainment industry. Unfortunately, this behavior goes on largely unchecked by Internet companies who should be gatekeepers, such as Google, Facebook, and YouTube.

In fact, Millennium Media views companies like YouTube and Google as rivals instead of allies. This is because Yunger claims to have found hundreds of pirated versions of their movies on YouTube.

Of course, the practical solution is not to try and block YouTube or do anything like that. Instead, Yunger suggests that the answer would be to block pirate sites directly.

The fact that America is lagging behind other countries when it comes to curbing online piracy also stings. But, with the implementation of site blocking, it’s becoming easier to stop illegal sites from operating.

The U.S. Senate’s View

Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate has taken rather mild measures to fight this issue and it doesn’t seem like it’s even a priority for the senate at this point.

Remember that the Congress was unable to pass simple SOPA legislation back in 2012. This was when the fear of site blocking was seen as an affront to free speech. But, Yunger believes that that type of perspective was nothing by hyperbole and fearmongering.

However, as of this writing, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee will explore alternative reliefs. A review of the US copyright law is also underway. Reports say that the subcommittee is discussing Article 17 among other EU Copyright Directive approaches.

Although US lawmakers are clearly considering pirate site blocking as a viable method against online piracy and copyright infringement, no tangible legislation changes are forthcoming. So things are still pretty much the same.

The DMCA continues to operate as before. This is despite murmurings about potential changes that might benefit and protect legitimate film and entertainment creators.

What do you think of these measures? Let us know by dropping a comment down below!

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