Film Industry submits video piracy comments to US Department of Commerce

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By Steve Hawley

On July 29, several movie and television industry organizations submitted a formal response to a request for comments by US Department of Commerce (DoC), for the DoC’s report on the State of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods Trafficking and Recommendations.  The report was released in January 2020.  Interestingly, there was no mention of digital media piracy in the resulting report.

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According to the submission, more than 1,000 illegal IPTV services were identified globally.  Piracy and counterfeiting of content via physical media also continues to be a problem.

The submission identifies the occurrence of video piracy through peer-to-peer sharing, direct digital downloads, linking and streaming Web sites, illegal IP video services, and computer software designed for illegal streaming. It quotes a Sandvine report that says about 6% (6.5 million) of North American households access TV piracy services.

It also makes several recommendations toward reducing video piracy, including collaboration between content platforms and the creative community to establish anti-infringement best practices, to bring criminal actions against infringers, to restore ICANN’s access to WHOIS data, and to ‘raise level of copyright protection and enforcement abroad through trade negotiations.’

Why it matters

Cynics may say that this action is noise, but whether the recommendations are put into practice or not, it’s important to be on record.  The gears of government may turn slowly, but when they do turn, they have teeth.

Additional details

The organizations filing the submission are the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA) and CreativeFuture.

The submission responds to a document published in the US Federal Register on July 10, in which the DoC “is seeking comments from intellectual property rights holders, online third-party marketplaces and other third-party intermediaries, and other private-sector stakeholders on the state of counterfeit and pirated goods trafficking through online third-party marketplaces and recommendations for curbing the trafficking in such counterfeit and pirated goods.”

This DoC request, in turn, was in response to an April 19 US Presidential Memorandum on “Combating Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods”

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