Internet providers, entertainment groups partner to fight copyright infringement

Michael O’Leary, vice president for government relations at the MPAA, said, “This agreement will help direct consumers to legal platforms rather than illicit sites, which often funnel profits to criminals rather than the artists and technicians whose hard work makes movies, television, and music possible.” 

David Sohn, senior policy counsel for the Center for Democracy & Technology, a nonprofit that promotes freedom on the Internet, was cautiously optimistic about the new program. He said that as long as the alert system focuses on educating Internet users, it could play an important role in reducing copyright infringement. In particular, he said that the program is better than more stringent forms of copyright enforcement such as the Protect IP Act, which is currently awaiting a vote in the Senate.  

But Sohn was worried that the agreement does not explicitly bar service providers from terminating their subscribers’ Internet access. “Cutting off Internet access is a pretty serious sanction for an allegation that hasn’t been tested in court,” he said. “Internet access is so central to people’s exercise of free expression, their employment, and their civic participation.”

According to the Center for Copyright Information, no service provider will be required to terminate a subscriber’s Internet access in response to evidence of copyright infringement under the agreement.

“I’m hopeful that [the alert system] will be a positive and useful thing, but we do need to watch implementation,” Sohn said.

This post was updated at 6:10 p.m.