The Burden on Creators to Protect Their Work

by Marc Miller 12/13/2012 12:31 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

This week, Google announced that it will make the data it publishes on the number of DMCA takedown requests it receives downloadable, making it easier for everyone to analyze the information.  While we are pleased to see Google take another important step toward meaningful transparency, Google’s reading of the data in the blog post accompanying the announcement is missing some critical perspective: if the process is cumbersome for Google, it is even more cumbersome for the creators and makers who must constantly be on the lookout to protect their work from theft.

There is a staggering amount of copyright infringement taking place every day online and much of it is facilitated by Google, as their own data shows.  According to Google, they receive 2.5 million takedown requests per week – and that data does not even include YouTube, where an enormous amount of infringement takes place.  That means that by Google’s own accounting, millions of times each week creators are forced to raise a complaint with Google that the company is facilitating the theft of their work and ask that the infringing work or the link to that work be removed.  Often, even when the links are removed, they pop right back up a few hours later.  That’s not a reasonable -- or sustainable -- system for anyone.  

One thing that’s important to make clear in any serious discussion about tackling online theft: absolutely no one is advocating for the restriction of speech on the Internet.  Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of the Internet, and a cornerstone of the film community, which has spent the last century advocating for artists to be able to express themselves freely on the screen.  Removing infringing works online isn’t limiting access to information or ideas, it’s ensuring that the creativity and hard work that went into making a film is encouraged to flourish.

We couldn’t agree more with Google that this data shows that our current system is not working – for creators, or for Google.  But we can’t lose sight of the fact that it also confirms the important role that Google has to play in helping curb the theft of creative works while protecting an Internet that works for everyone.  We look forward to continuing to work with them to tackle this urgent challenge.

Categories: Content Protection, Copyright

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Keeping the Internet Safe for Consumers

by Marc Miller 05/23/2012 09:46 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Online copyright infringement and piracy used to be the stuff of law school seminars but the ongoing debate in Washington over how to protect intellectual property has thrust these issues into the mainstream conversation.
Discussions about anti-piracy efforts now abound in every corner of the Internet amongst people who feel passionately about being able to access content.

I have spent my career working on these issues and I believe it’s critical to find solutions to the challenges facing both these consumers and the people who create the content.  Because at the end of the day, this discussion is about consumers and by consumers who love TV shows and movies.  They want to be able to access them quickly and safely online.
As the MPAA’s new head of Internet content protection, it’s my job to make sure consumers can watch their favorite shows and movies in a trustworthy and safe digital environment, while getting high-quality and reliable content. That means creating a legal and technical environment where legitimate outlets can flourish, while finding and putting a stop to the illegal activity that puts consumers and the viability of innovative new business models at risk.
No business in the world can compete with “free.”  But make no mistake, many of the movies and TV shows that people think are “free” are not – they’re stolen.  And they often pose a risk to unsuspecting users who think they’re getting some kind of deal from these sites.
Identity theft, privacy abuses and computer viruses represent some of the potential dangers consumers unwittingly encounter on these sites. Our focus is on continuing to educate consumers on where they can access great content safely and securely while also ensuring that the work that went into producing this content is not stolen.
As platforms for watching content continue to develop and improve, so do legitimate services for providing content.  Just this week, in fact, Verizon announced Viewdini, a new mobile app that will aggregate video and deliver content to consumers. Viewdini is the latest in a long line of services including Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, HBO Go and dozens of others that bring shows and movies to mobile screens across the country and around the world.
As consumers of video content increasingly move online, the MPAA is working to let consumers know about the many ways they can watch content online legitimately and safely.

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