Movie Industry To Renew Push For Bill Targeting Piracy Sites

The movie industry is planning a renewed push for federal legislation that could prevent web users from accessing websites suspected of hosting pirated content.

That's according to Motion Picture Association CEO Charles Rivkin, who disclosed the industry's plans Wednesday at CinemaCon.

He said the organization will work with Congress "to enact judicial site-blocking legislation here in the United States."

Rivkin claimed that site-blocking laws in other countries “dramatically reduces traffic on piracy sites” and “substantially increases visits to legal sites.”

“Simply put, this is a powerful tool to defend what our filmmakers create and what reaches your theaters,” he said.

Rivkin went on to discuss one suspected pirate site that he said draws more than 160 million visits a month, including around 48 million visits from the United States.



“Imagine if those viewers couldn’t find pirated versions of films through a basic internet search,” Rivkin told the audience. “Imagine if they could only watch the latest great movies when they’re released in their intended destinations: your theaters.”

He added: “If we had site-blocking in place, we wouldn’t have to imagine it. We’d have another tool to make that real.”

Rivkin's remarks come more than 12 years after Congress abandoned an attempt to enact the Stop Online Piracy Act -- an entertainment-industry backed bill that would have provided for court orders banning search engines from returning links to sites seen as “dedicated” to infringement. That bill also would have empowered courts to issue orders prohibiting credit card companies and ad networks from doing business with piracy sites. The bill at one point also contained provisions requiring internet service providers to block domains of suspected piracy sites.

Lawmakers withdrew support for that bill after thousands of web companies staged online protests -- including by going dark for a short time.

Advocacy group Public Knowledge, which previously fought the Stop Online Piracy Act, on Wednesday reiterated its objections to site-blocking legislation.

“We oppose any attempt to ram through censorious legislation developed entirely in secret without the public hearing the harsh consequences of this previously failed proposal," Public Knowledge senior counsel Meredith Rose stated. 

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