MPAA, Donuts Team on Takedown Best Practice

TV and movie pirates beware, studios are teaming up with Donuts to take a bite out of online theft.

The Motion Picture Association of America said Tuesday (Feb. 9) it was partnering with domain name extension operators Donuts ( (.MOVIE, .THEATER, .COMPANY and a couple hundred others) "to help ensure that websites using domains registered with Donuts are not engaged in large-scale piracy."

Under the agreement, MPAA will be a "trusted notifier" for reporting pirate sites registered to Donuts, but those referrals must have clear evidence of "pervasive" copyright infringement (as opposed to occasional or inadvertent) and MPAA must certify that it first contacted the site and host for resolution.

If Donuts concludes, after seeking additional evidence itself, that the site "is engaged in illegal activity and thereby violates Donuts’ Acceptable Use and Anti-Abuse Policy," then Donuts can put the domain on hold or suspend it, though the language is that Donuts "may act" "in their discretion," so it is not a cut-and-dried cut-off.

It is described as a "voluntary best practice."

“I want to thank Donuts for their leadership.  This agreement demonstrates that the tech community and content creators can work together on voluntary initiatives to help ensure vibrant, legal digital marketplaces that benefit all members of the online ecosystem,” said MPAA Chairman Senator Chris Dodd in a statement. “Filmmakers and distributors are already using the Internet to offer more options than ever before for accessing online legal content, including over 115 such sites in the U.S. alone.  But sites engaged in large-scale piracy threaten this continued growth and creativity, as well as the livelihoods of the 1.9 million Americans whose jobs depend on our industry.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.