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The Motion Picture Association will work with Congress to start blocking piracy sites in the US


At CinemaCon this year, the Motion Picture Association Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin has revealed a plan that would make “sailing the digital seas” under the Jolly Roger banner just a bit harder. Rivkin said the association is going to work with Congress to establish and enforce a site-blocking legislation in the United States. He added that almost 60 countries use site-blocking as a tool against piracy, “including leading democracies and many of America’s closest allies.” The only reason why the US isn’t one of them, he continued, is the “lack of political will, paired with outdated understandings of what site-blocking actually is, how it functions, and who it affects.”

With the rule in place, “film and television, music and book publishers, sports leagues and broadcasters” can ask the court to order ISPs to block websites that share stolen content. Rivkin, arguing in favor of site-blocking, explained that the practice doesn’t impact legitimate businesses. He said legislation around the practice would require detailed evidence to prove that a certain entity is engaged in illegal activities and that alleged perpetrators can appear in court to defend themselves.

Rivkin cited FMovies, an illegal film streamer, as an example of how site-blocking in the US would minimize traffic to piracy websites. Apparently, FMovies gets 160 million visits per month, a third of which comes from the US. If the rule also exists in the country, then the website’s traffic would, theoretically, drop pretty drastically. The MPA’s chairman also talked about previous efforts to enforce site-blocking in the US, which critics previously said would “break the internet” and could potentially stifle free speech. While he insisted that other countries’ experiences since then had proven those predictions wrong, he promised that the organization takes those concerns seriously.

He ended his speech by asking for the support of theater owners in the country. “The MPA is leading this charge in Washington,” he said. “And we need the voices of theater owners — your voices — right by our side. Because this action will be good for all of us: Content creators. Theaters. Our workforce. Our country.”


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