Rogue Websites A Threat to Consumers

by MPAA 11/16/2011 13:03 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Watch this video to see how rogue websites pose as legitimate operators to trick consumers:

Rogue Sites Prey on Internet Users

by MPAA 11/16/2011 11:23 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Watch this video to see how rogue sites take advantage of internet users during a simple online search:

Remember the iPod?

by Paul Hortenstine 11/16/2011 07:20 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Remember the iPod?  It was a sleek, well designed portable music device that had so much potential.  Tragically, content protection law killed it off in the summer of 2005.

At least that’s what the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) predicted in June 2004.  The EFF stated that the Induce Act could “potentially outlaw everything from CD burners to the iPod.”   That act did not pass, but after the Supreme Court implemented much of the Induce Act in a June 2005 decision, the opposite was true.  

In June 2005, the Supreme Court issued its decision in MGM v. Grokster, declaring that “one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties.”  This essentially implemented important parts of the Induce Act that EFF criticized a year earlier.

And here’s what happened: just last month, Apple reported that 16 billion iTunes songs have been downloaded and 300 million iPods have been sold.

This prediction is important when considering what critics of proposed content protection laws are saying now.  

Today, the House Judiciary is holding a hearing on important content protection and rogue sites legislation, the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R.3261).    This bill and similar legislation in the Senate, the PROTECT IP Act (S.968), have bipartisan support and will preserve American jobs and target foreign websites that steal and profit from counterfeit goods and stolen creative content like books and movies and music.

Unfortunately, opponents of rogue sites legislation are continuing with their sky is falling rhetoric.  The EFF is currently warning that the Stop Online Piracy Act will squelch free speech and threaten the existence of many well-known websites such as Etsy, Flickr, and Vimeo, stating that “one very possible outcome [of the Stop Online Piracy Act]: many of the lawful sites you know and love will face new legal threats.”

The EFF was wrong about content protection law in 2004 and they’re wrong again now.

If rogue sites legislation passes, American jobs will be protected and the Internet will continue to be alive with innovation, commerce and free speech.  Content protection laws have given us the Internet of today and enabled the legal distribution of protected content like music or movies that are available on the iPod.  So just keep in mind the track record of critics of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act.    

Categories: Content Protection, Policy


Rogue Websites Place Internet Users at Risk

by MPAA 11/16/2011 06:31 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Watch this video to see how rogue websites make internet users vulnerable to identity theft:

Rogue Sites Legislation and the DMCA

by Paul Hortenstine 11/15/2011 07:22 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

There has been lot of discussion recently about important rogue sites legislation in Congress.   In particular, there has been debate about how this legislation would change current copyright law, especially the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  

An important part of the DMCA gives legally operating websites safe harbor when they remove material that infringes on copyrights after receiving notification.   Rogue sites legislation does nothing to legally operating websites.  It continues to give safe harbor to legally operating sites under the DMCA.   Rogue sites legislation targets foreign sites that are trafficking in stolen and counterfeit goods and content. 

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on rogue sites legislation, the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261).  This bill and similar legislation in the Senate, the PROTECT IP Act (S.968), will preserve American jobs and target foreign websites that steal and profit from counterfeit goods and stolen creative content like books, movies and music.  Both bills have bipartisan support and are backed by a broad coalition of business and labor groups. 

Today, a group of companies—AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo and Zynga—released a letter opposing rogue sites legislation that specifically cited the DMCA safe harbor provisions:

“We are very concerned that the bills as written [H.R.3261 and S.968] would seriously undermine the effective mechanism Congress enacted in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to provide a safe harbor for Internet companies that act in good faith to remove infringing content from their sites.”

And on Monday, Markham Erickson, Executive Director of Net Coalition, wrote in The Hill’s Congress Blog on rogue sites legislation and the DMCA, stating, 

“Both bills gut the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which for over a decade has helped Internet companies grow and flourish.  The DMCA is one of the big reasons companies like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter weren’t crushed in their early days by harassing lawsuits.”

The DMCA and other copyright laws have given us the Internet of today, alive with innovation, commerce and free speech.  But rogue sites legislation does not undermine or “gut” the DMCA.  Again, rogue sites legislation does nothing to change the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions, which will continue as law if rogue sites legislation is passed. 

Rogue sites legislation targets foreign rogue sites.   It goes after sites that are dedicated to pirating copyrighted works and peddling counterfeit goods.   Legally operating sites will continue to have the same protections they have under DMCA.

What is missing from this debate is how the DMCA is ineffective in targeting foreign sites dedicated to selling pirated content and counterfeit goods.  The DMCA is often effective in removing copyrighted material from legitimate websites but it is not effective in targeting foreign rogue sites that are designed to sell pirated content. 

The DMCA can be an effective tool in notifying website operators of copyright infringing materials made available through their websites.  Compliance, of course, varies.  The DMCA is most helpful to copyright holders only in cases in which the website is not primarily designed or dedicated to infringing activity.  Legitimate websites with low levels of copyright infringement can be managed through DMCA notices and adherence to a reasonable DMCA policy. 
However, rogue websites that are designed to allow users to easily and reliably locate copyright infringing material commonly ignore DMCA requests or only comply after long periods of time after illegal files are repeatedly viewed.  The DMCA also does not fare well in addressing the large scale rogue websites that host millions of files and receive hundreds of thousands of uploads daily.  Copyright holders simply cannot locate all the illegal files uploaded to these websites despite costly and time consuming efforts to scan the Internet for these files.  The illegal files that are reported using the DMCA are commonly re-uploaded to the same websites within minutes and without restriction.  Many large scale rogue sites even furnish illegal uploaders with notice that files have been taken down or tools to check whether their files have been taken down so that the same files can be re-uploaded.  This creates a situation where a website can act on DMCA notices, but still enjoy high levels of copyright infringement and the resulting profit from this Internet traffic.

So, rogue sites legislation creates new tools to go after these foreign rogues sites dedicated to criminal activity, which the DMCA has had limited success in targeting.  Rogue sites legislation targets foreign online criminals and their access to the U.S. market.  Operators of legitimate websites should welcome this legislation. 

Categories: Content Protection, Copyright, Policy


The MPAA Honors President Ronald Reagan

by MPAA 11/14/2011 19:07 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Tonight at the Hay Adams hotel overlooking the White House, the MPAA and the Centennial Celebration of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation held a reception honoring the 100th anniversary of President Reagan’s birth.  President Reagan is a unique figure in American history who seamlessly transitioned from a movie set into the political arena while never losing his connection to the American people. The motion picture industry undeniably shaped Ronald Reagan’s role as president and forever changed the face of modern political communication.  From his time in Hollywood to his days in the White House, President Reagan’s career spanned over fifty roles as an actor, six terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, television host, Governor of the state of California, and President of the United States.

General Colin Powell, Jeff Bewkes, Chairman and CEO of Time Warner, Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox, Ron Meyer, President of Universal Studios, Fredrick Huntsberry, COO of Paramount Pictures, Ken Duberstein, former White House Chief of Staff, and Fred Ryan, President of the Reagan Foundation joined Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the MPAA to pay tribute to the 40th president's contribution to the motion picture industry. 

Here are a few photos from the event:


Leading Public Safety and Law Enforcement Groups Support Rogue Sites Legislation

by Paul Hortenstine 11/14/2011 12:07 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Today, fifteen leading groups from across the criminal justice system joined together in writing a letter to members of Congress that urged them to support rogue sites legislation, the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act.  They joined a broad and growing coalition that backs rogue sites legislation, which will be the subject of a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. 

The PROTECT IP Act (S.968) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) in the House have bipartisan support and will preserve American jobs and target foreign websites that steal and profit from counterfeit goods and stolen creative content like books, movies and music. 

The letter states:

“We the undersigned associations representing the state and local criminal justice community write to urge your support for legislation that would strengthen U.S. law enforcement’s capacity to take action against foreign ‘rogue’ websites that traffic in stolen and counterfeit American-made products which pose a severe risk to health and public safety and which help to finance criminal activity within our borders.”

“While counterfeiting and content theft are not new, the proliferation and extent of these activities are unprecedented today. Criminals have turned to the Internet, abusing its virtually unlimited distribution opportunities to expand their illegal activities and increase their profits. Many of these sites are based overseas yet rely on U.S. Internet service providers, search engines, payment processors, and advertising services to reach U.S. consumers. Many of these sites deceive Internet users into thinking they are legitimate by accepting major credit cards as forms of payment and featuring advertising from well-known U.S. companies. And they are succeeding; a recent study found that just a small sample of 43 rogue sites generate over 53 billion visits a year.”

The letter was addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Ranking Member Charles Grassley and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and Ranking Member John Conyers. 

The letter was organized by the National Criminal Justice Association and signed by the National Sheriffs Association, Major County Sheriffs, Major City Chiefs, National Center for Victims of Crime, National Fusion Center, National District Attorneys Association, Council of State Governments, International Union of Police Associations, Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, National Troopers Coalition, National Domestic Preparedness Coalition, National Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, National Narcotics Officers Association Coalition, and National Association of State Chief Information Officers.

This letter adds to the support already expressed by other public safety and emergency responder groups, including the Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Fire Fighters, Congressional Fire Services Institute, state attorneys general, EMS and emergency management associations, campus law enforcement administrators, and private sector security.

Categories: Content Protection, Policy


Growing Support for Rogue Sites Legislation in Pennsylvania

by Paul Hortenstine 11/11/2011 11:49 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Support for rogue sites legislation keeps growing in Pennsylvania.   This week, the mayor of Pittsburgh joined Philadelphia’s mayor in pledging his support for legislation that targets rogue sites and preserves jobs. 

The PROTECT IP Act (S.968) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) in the House have bipartisan support and will preserve American jobs and target foreign websites that steal and profit from counterfeit goods and stolen creative content like books, movies and music.

On Wednesday, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl wrote a letter in support of the PROTECT IP Act to Senators Robert Casey (a cosponsor of the bill) and Pat Toomey as well as Representative Mike Doyle.  He wrote,  

“When American-made products are counterfeited or stolen by foreign rogue websites (those dedicated to counterfeiting and piracy), American workers lose out on wages and benefits.  The U.S. economy loses $58 billion in annual economic output as a result of copyright theft of movies, music, packaged software and video games.  Our current economic climates does not allow for such loses.  The PROTECT IP Act addresses the threat posed to jobs and the economy by foreign-based rogue websites.”

The motion picture and television industry is directly responsible for 18,181 jobs and $756.3 million in wages in Pennsylvania, including production and distribution related jobs.  Nationally, 2.2 million American workers, from accountants to truck drivers to florists to make-up artists, have jobs that depend on the film and television industry.

Many major television and motion pictures have filmed in Pennsylvania.   Recently, big budget thrillers “The Dark Knight Rises” and “One Shot” filmed in Pittsburgh and the television show “Elixir” is currently in production.  Philadelphia has had its share of productions, including the recent hit “Limitless.”   In 2009 and 2010, a total of 34 films and 25 TV projects filmed in Pennsylvania, including “Law Abiding Citizen,” “Love and Other Drugs,” and “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

Mayor Ravenstahl joined another Pennsylvania mayor in support of rogue sites legislation. On October 20, Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia wrote a letter to members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation in support of rogue websites legislation.  He wrote,

“Intellectual property theft and the sale of counterfeit goods cause serious negative consequences in the US’s major cities. When foreign entities infringe upon the rights of US copyright holders or produce counterfeit US products, our economy suffers. Furthermore, counterfeit goods may pose more direct risks to consumers because counterfeit goods may be of such poor quality that they jeopardize the health and safety of their users.”

Rogue sites legislation is also supported by the bipartisan U.S. Conference of mayors.  In June, the conference adopted a resolution in support of rogue sites legislation:

“[T]he U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon Congress to pass the PROTECT IP ACT and S. 978, as much needed and important legislative initiatives to increase the ability of U.S. law enforcement to go after profit-making entities who willfully and knowingly steal intellectual property, with little or no regard for the cost in dollars, jobs, U.S. creativity and ingenuity, and revenue for cities across America.”

Categories: Content Protection, Job Production, Policy


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