Piracy: How Companies Can Work Together to Stop It

Piracy of copyrighted works is a constant and increasing problem for creators. And laws aimed at helping creators and innovators defend their work from bad actors haven’t lived up to their potential. For example, watch this video of Congressional testimony by Grammy Award winning composer Maria Schnieder where she describes her struggles fighting piracy.  
Because law enforcement tools are slow, expensive and inadequate to the challenge of protecting IP online, rights holders have pursued market based, voluntary agreements with good faith actors in the Internet ecosystem. Examples include the Copyright Alert System, an agreement between the movie and music industries and the five largest Internet service providers to educate consumers about infringing behavior and guide them to legal alternatives. Additionally, the advertising industry recently announced the Trustworthy Accountability Group to help ensure that good ads don’t appear on sites dedicated to theft, thereby taking some of the profit out of piracy and protecting the good names of advertisers who don’t want to be associated with sleazy sites.
Building on these earlier agreements, last week, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Donuts – an Internet domain name registry that administers almost 200 domain extensions including .MOVIE, .THEATER, .COMPANY – announced an agreement to collaboratively address piracy on Donuts registered domains. The terms of the agreement include MPAA notifying Donuts if it suspects that large-scale piracy is occurring on a domain extension supported by Donuts. This referral process imposes strict standards, and MPAA will also need to have clear evidence that copyright infringement is happening when notifying Donuts.  
This is a victory for intellectual property advocates everywhere for many reasons.  By protecting the intellectual property of the film industry from copyright infringement, this agreement will thus help foster an environment of innovation, creativity, and jobs.
This is also a victory for creators, innovators and users as this agreement will help facilitate a safer and more secure internet. Indeed, recent studies (here and here) have demonstrated that large piracy sites often deal in fraud and malware. Piracy website operators cost consumers over $70 million per year through identity theft, financial fraud, ransomware, and other schemes. And…“malvertising” – the use of online advertising to spread malware – costs the advertising industry $1.4 billion annually. 
Property Rights Alliance applauds Donuts for their leadership addressing IP theft in the Domain name space. As the International Property Rights Index (IPRI) 2015 has shown, there is a direct correlation between property rights and economic prosperity, and thus, property rights must continue to be respected and protected online.