The Motion Picture Association will work with Congress to start blocking piracy sites in the US

CinemaCon this year features Motion Picture Association Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin revealed a plan that will “swim in digital seas”. Under the Jolly Roger flag it’s just a little harder. Rivkin said the association intends to work with Congress to create and implement a law to block websites in the United States. He added that about 60 countries use website blocking as an anti-piracy tool, including “leading democracies and America’s closest allies.” The only reason the U.S. isn’t one of them, he continued, is “a lack of political will combined with outdated understandings of what site blocking actually is, how it works, and who it affects.”

Under the current rule, “film and television, music and book publishers, sports leagues and broadcasters” can ask a court to order ISPs to block websites sharing stolen content. Rivkin argued in favor of blocking the site, explaining that the practice does not affect legitimate businesses. He said the legislation around the practice would require detailed evidence to prove that a particular entity engaged in illegal activity, and alleged criminals could go to court to defend themselves.

Rivkin cited FMovies, an illegal movie distributor, as an example of how blocking sites in the US would minimize traffic to piracy sites. Apparently, FMovies receives 160 million visits per month, one-third of which come from the United States. If the rule is also in place in the country, then the traffic of the website will theoretically decrease quite drastically. The MPA chairman also talked about previous efforts to block sites in the US, which critics have previously said would “corrupt the internet” and potentially stifle free speech. He vowed that the organization would take those concerns seriously, though he insisted that the experiences of other countries had since proved those predictions wrong.

He concluded his speech by asking for support from theater owners in the country. “MPA is leading the charge in Washington,” he said. “And we need the voice of theater owners — your voice — with us. Because this action will be good for all of us: Content creators. Theaters. Our workforce. Our country.”

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