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The MPAA Seeks Stronger Actions to Fight Streaming Video Piracy

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The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is stepping into the online video piracy debate and calling for criminal charges against violators, as well as strong coordination between a broad range of online service providers.

The association's recommendations came in response to a call from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) call for comments regarding internet policy concerns. On July 17, the MPAA issued a 40-page document advocating a modernization of online policies in response to rampant illicit activity.

While a range of commercial offerings help studios and sports leagues battle online piracy, anyone who has a friend with a Kodi box knows that unrestricted access to popular shows and movies is only a few taps away. The MPAA notes that 6.5 million homes in North America are equipped with a Kodi box, and the North American piracy ecosystem generates $840 million per year.

Angling for tougher measures to fight that activity, the MPAA calls for "civil and criminal actions against creators of pirate add-on software and the repository web sites that host them, against distributors of the preloaded devices, and against the entities streaming the content." A group of studios including Netflix, Amazon, 20thCentury Fox, and others has been battling pirate device-makers in the courts, but those have been civil complaints. The MPAA wants to see stronger charges against a broader range of infringing organizations.

The MPAA also wants to see broader efforts to combat the problem, calling for cooperation between "on-line marketplaces, payment processors, advertisers, domain name providers, website and file hosting providers, and search and social media services" with the goal of ending all distribution options and monetization tools for pirates.

The current system, the MPAA says, shields online platform for liability from the illegal activity of their customers (thanks to the Communications Decency Act) and allows piracy to flourish.

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