In this day and digitally integrated age, piracy is a major, if not a much larger concern more than ever before. In fact, any individual or group who illegally distributes copyrighted material should face the consequences of their actions. The many entities out there that still perpetuate piracy don’t feel that way. Aside from the more commonly associated forms of piracy such as counterfeiting, internet Piracy, end user piracy, client-server overuse, and hard-disk loading, a more multifaceted means of online piracy has emerged and become a growing concern, especially for the various groups within the movie industry like IFTA and the MPAA.
This new form of online piracy has come in the form of pirate IPTV services, or pirate streaming services. Pirate streaming services come in different shapes, which include free pirate sites to paid IPTV subscriptions. Over 1,000 illegal IPTV services that operate around the world, have been identified, and they can be accessed through dedicated web portals, third-party applications, and piracy devices that have been specifically configured to access the services as well as individual pieces of pirated content on demand. Alongside IPTV streaming, other types of copyright infringement such as torrent sites, cyberlockers, linking sites, as well as streaming devices and applications remain and even continue to become part of the emerging threat of online piracy.
What Is Being Done To Combat Online Piracy?
This new form of highly advanced piracy is sheer proof that the perpetrators of the copyright material show little to no respect in their need to take someone else’s hard work and sell it off as it was their own. Thankfully, a solution is being worked towards as various sections of the movie industry have banded together in an effort to legitimately deal with online piracy. Most recently, industry groups such as IFTA, MPAA, CreativeFuture, and SAG-AFTRA have submitted an anti-piracy wish list with the US Department of Commerce. The genesis of this list came as part of a request where the Department of Commerce searched for public input on critical matters concerning the illegal distribution of copyrighted material.
Anti-Piracy Wish List Hopes
As a result of the public input on how to deal with piracy, came the anti-piracy wish list, which was conceived with the intention of making sure that the US Government followed through on fighting piracy through the implementation of certain actions, which included:
- Launching Criminal Investigations
- Installing Better Copyright Protection Enforcement In Trade Agreements
- The Restoration Of WHOIS data
- The Encouragement Of Best Practices
Launching Criminal Investigations
The most obvious area where the US Government could be immensely efficient is through the initiation of more effective criminal enforcement. In the past, groups made several referrals to the Department of Justice (DoJ), and this was regarding piracy streaming services, and how they were able to replicate both the deterrent effect and protection of legitimate consumption that happened following the Megaupload legal case of 2012 where the online company Megaupload LTD’s founder, Kim Dotcom, had been arrested on charges of criminal copyright infringement, involving the loss of gigabytes worth of legal content users had access to.
Installing Better Copyright Protection Enforcement In Trade Agreements
The piracy ecosystem’s complexity is best illustrated by the wide array of players and intermediaries, many of whom operate on an international spectrum, which undoubtedly makes the concept of enforcement much more difficult. However, because industry groups want for more trade agreements, they’ve have called for the government to promote more international cooperation in the fight against piracy, along with requesting that the Government update its enforcement model with a focus centered on the potential risk of third-party intermediaries becoming players in the piracy game that is currently underway so that companies such as domain registrars, hosting outfits, ISPs, search engines, and any other unwanted players can face adequate liability for their participation.
The Restoration Of WHOIS Data
When it comes to restoring WHOIS data, the subject of piracy delves further into the European privacy regulation GDPR, which requires many online services and tools to tighten their privacy policies. Since the implementation of the European privacy regulation GDPR, the domain registrar oversight body ICANN decided to shield names and other personal information of domain name owners from public viewing, which actually adds difficulty in tracking down site owners in the event of piracy. Industry groups requested that full WHOIS details be restored once more, and with just a promise of progress from ICANN’s end, the issue has ultimately remained unresolved. This will certainly require the US Congress to pass legislation with the support of the Commerce Department if progress is to occur.
The Encouragement Of Best Practices
The implementation of best, or in this case, better practices would certainly be more voluntary anti-piracy agreements with the third-party intermediaries. According to the industry groups, some level of success has been achieved as a result of advertising networks banning pirate sites and services. Even certain marketplaces like, eBay, Amazon, and Alibaba, are working with rights holders to stop copyright infringements, and the same goes for payment processors such as PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard. Now, despite this level of progress, there’s still more that could be done, and the Department of Commerce could do so by actively encouraging anti-piracy best practices and other forms of cooperation from the companies that aren’t showing an equivalent level of cooperation.
Several of the areas still in need of improvement focus on domain name registrars and reverse proxies like Cloudflare. Industry groups believe that in addition to the ban on pirate sites and services, hosting companies could implement “repeat infringer” policies. The industry groups expressed their need for these policy enactments when they wrote “Given the central role of hosting providers in the online ecosystem, it is disconcerting that many refuse to take action when notified that their hosting services are being used in clear violation of their own terms of service prohibiting intellectual property infringement, and in blatant violation of the law.”
Piracy is no laughing matter, and with the more evolved form of online piracy on the rise, the illegal distribution of protected content has reached a point where the copyrighted material has acquired an appearance so convincing, that it essentially provides a level of legitimacy that further allows for even the people who are being provided the material to be part of the illegal distribution without even knowing it. Despite the issue of online piracy, the groups remain strong in their hope that the US Government will work hard to enact more efficient counter measures against these threats, and that the US Department of Commerce can also provide assistance on the four major fronts, starting with the encouragement of voluntary initiatives.
For More Information On The Fight Against Online Piracy, then check out: ifta-online.org/ifta-speaks-out/
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