Hollywood studios applaud net neutrality proposal

The Hill

When Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed net neutrality rules last month, he said the “open-Internet principles apply only to lawful content, services and applications – not to activities like unlawful distribution of copyrighted works … The enforcement of copyright and other laws and the obligations of network openness can and must coexist.”

That announcement was welcomed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which consistently battles the illegal use of studio works and has been pushing for stronger copyright protections.

Dan Glickman, chairman and chief executive officer of the MPAA, met with Genachowski on Friday to thank him for enforcing copyright laws online.

Glickman reiterated his stance Wednesday during an intellectual property event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Unlawful content on the Web takes up a huge amount of bandwidth,” he said, adding that any net neutrality rules should not get in the way of new technology solutions, such as tools that could help detect unlawful content. “We shouldn’t be rigid in our approach to these problems – technology moves much faster than some rigid system.”

Glickman also said the Internet service providers have the responsibility to make sure illegal content does not course through their networks – an issue that has caused some tension between the two industries.

“You can’t have a viable Internet without stuff to put on it,” he said. “So you have to give the creators the ability to do their thing and get compensated for it.”

Internet service providers, he said, “can’t turn a blind eye to infringed material that goes on their pipes.”

The MPAA is also asking the FCC to grant a waiver that will make high-definition movies available to consumers in their homes before the official DVD release date.

But groups including the New America Foundation, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge are urging the FCC to deny the request, saying the technology used would give MPAA too much control over consumer devices. The groups also say MPAA hasn’t shown evidence that the plan would reduce copyright infringement.

In an ex-parte filed with the FCC, Michael O’Leary, chief counsel for the MPAA, said the proposal does not interfere with consumers’ other programming options.

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