MPAA Teams With Domain Registrars to Fight Piracy

As part of its latest strategy to limit the spread of online piracy, the Motion Picture Association of America is forging ties with companies that potential pirates might use to host or manage their websites, including those that sell domains.

The Motion Picture Association of America has taken numerous efforts to fight film piracy over the past two decades: a lot of deals, a lot of political muscle, and even some shutdowns when necessary.

The latest strategy involves working directly with domain registrars, the firms that hand out internet domain names to the public. The MPAA last week announced it would team with the Asian company Radix to work on weeding out sites that appear to be actively publishing or sharing pirated materials.

The approach will work like this: As a “trusted notifier” in piracy cases, the MPAA will pinpoint clear evidence of piracy on sites that have domains with global top-level domains (gTLDs) distributed by Radix. The registrar will look into the issues cited by the MPAA, and, if the website fails numerous checks, it could have its domain suspended by the company.

It’s the first time the association has worked with a registrar outside the United States, though the MPAA has previously worked out a similar deal with the American company Donuts, which owns the .movie gTLD.

The strategy reflects the embrace by the MPAA of partnering with companies that can assist with the association’s broader anti-piracy goals, without necessarily focusing on more controversial legislative strategies like the Stop Online Piracy Act. These partnerships, beyond domain registrars, also involve payment processors and ad agencies—with the idea of choking the profitability of running ad-driven, online piracy outlets.

“This agreement demonstrates that tech and content creators can work together on voluntary initiatives to help ensure vibrant, legal digital marketplaces that benefit all members of the digital ecosystem,” Steven Fabrizio, MPAA’s senior executive vice president and global general counsel, said in a news release [PDF]. “While this agreement is geared to film and television piracy, similar agreements could address other illegal activity online.”

Fabrizio noted that the strategy could easily be translated to other industries with similar concerns, such as counterfeiting or trademark infringement. “Hopefully, it can become a model to be used with other players in the domain name ecosystem and internet intermediaries,” he added.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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