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IFTASeeks Government Action, Stakeholder Input

The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) says that online piracy puts future independent productions at risk and has asked the government to boost online copy protections in tandem with industry.

IFTA's argument for stronger government measures to combat online copyrighted content theft came in a filing with the Commerce Department's Patent and Trademark office, which has opened an inquiry into "Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Internet Economy."

IFTA echoed concerns about the YouTube/Viacom case, in which the latter is appealing a lower court decision that YouTube was only required to take down infringing content that had complaints filed against it, even if it knew generally that other infringing content was on its site.

"In that case," said IFTA, "the District Court held that the DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] does not obligate a service provider to monitor and takedown infringing materials without actual knowledge of the infringement and "information reasonably sufficient" to locate the material, e.g., the URL of the unauthorized content. Thus, it held that YouTube is in compliance with the DMCA safe harbors when it removes only the specific clips identified in DMCA notices, and not other clips which infringe the same works."

The independents argue that DMCA struck a careful balance between the rightsholders and service providers, but that the lower court decision "throws into jeopardy this delicate balance and may entirely eliminate the incentive to cooperate by service providers and is of significant concern to IFTA and the independent film and television industry."

Last week, IFTA filed an amicus brief supporting Viacom's challenge to the YouTube decision.

Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force is conducting "a comprehensive review of the relationship between the
availability and protection of online copyrighted works and innovation in the Internet economy." The result will be a
report intended to inform the administration's domestic and international policy on online copyright protection.