MPAA and RIAA outline chilling copyright charter

MPAA and RIAA tackle the pirates
MPAA and RIAA tackle the pirates

Want to know how the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) want to control copyright infringement in the US?

Well, details of their Joint Strategic Plan for intellectual property enforcement have been released and it makes for painful reading.

The future of fighting pirates on the web seems to be one that features severe monitoring by the FBI, self-installed software programs and propaganda posters which outline just how much damage piracy is doing the America and its economy.

Education game

Extracts from the strategic plan have been obtained by the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, where some of the key features have been outlined.

They include different technological ways of tackling piracy, including bandwidth shaping and throttling, watermarking, site blocking and even the use of home software.

To spread the awareness that 'piracy is bad' both the MPAA and RIAA also want to pump money into an educational program for online advertisers, financial payment services providers and the general public showing them why getting stuff for free is not a good thing.

One of the other things that they want implemented is better access to copyright-infringing sites for rights holders.

Essentially this means that they can infiltrate notorious sites and set up a sort of honey trap for those who distribute illicit content online.

The use of propaganda is also welcomed by the proposal, with the document noting: "Customs authorities should be encouraged to do more to educate the travelling public and entrants into the United States about these issues.

"In particular, points of entry into the United States are underused venues for educating the public about the threat to our economy (and to public safety) posed by counterfeit and pirate products."

Significant adverse economic impact

Finally, the MPAA want the FBI to be used as a defence shield for the summer's blockbusters, with the report stating: "The planned release of a blockbuster motion picture should be acknowledged as an event that attracts the focused efforts of copyright thieves… Enforcement agencies (notably within DOJ and DHS) should plan a similarly focused preventive and responsive strategy."

Currently, all of this is in proposal form but it does point to a future where copyright infringement on the web is dealt with by rather heavy hands.

The MPAA and RIAA do, however, feel strongly about piracy explaining: "The undeniable fact is that the theft of intellectual property today in its many forms is rampant, and that such theft is and will continue to have a significant adverse economic impact both on the directly affected industries and the United States as a whole.

"It is similarly apparent that the current patchwork of available enforcement approaches and tools has been inadequate to stem the tide of infringement."

It's strange that a document which is about piracy talks just about enforcement than finding other viable ways to ween a generation of people used to getting content for free off of this notion.

It seems that money is going to be used on 'shock and awe' tactics to keep the music and movie industry exactly the way it is, rather than spent on new innovative ways of distribution to stop the pirates doing what they are doing.

Suddenly our own Digital Economy Bill looks rather tame in comparison.


Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.