Run DMCA: Stakeholders to Meet

WASHINGTON — The Commerce Department has set March 20 for its first multi-stakeholder meeting, the goal of which is to come up with a better Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice and takedown system for removing infringing content — like pirated TV shows and movies — from the Internet.

Cable operators and studios are expected to be at the table as the administration and those stakeholders look to avoid the kind of scorched-earth battle that erupted in 2012, during the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)/ Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) effort to crack down on content piracy, though a spokesman for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association last week said the trade group was not aware of the meeting.

Given that major cable operators and studios are currently teaming on the Six Strikes notice and takedown regime, they should both be at the table.

The SOPA and PIPA legislation may have been stopped in its tracks, but online piracy of TV and movies is clearly an ongoing concern since, as the Obama administration itself points out, copyrighted content accounts for millions of jobs and billions of dollars in GDP.

The effort to improve the process stems from the Commerce Departments’s Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy.

Among those providing that feedback for the report were the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the Motion Picture Association of America, NBCU, AT&T, Google, YouTube, the Screen Actors Guild, The Independent Film & Television Alliance and the Consumer Electronics Association.

Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) released the paper in July of last year, seeking comment on several proposals, including at least talking about improving, the notice and takedown system.

The Obama administration signaled that it wants the government and the private sector to take a fresh look at balancing both copyright protection and online creativity and copyright exceptions, given the rise of new ways to distribute and creatively manipulate content. The goal, said one senior administration official at the time, was to “strike a balance between complex opposing forces.”

The paper was the product of IPTF, whose cochair is former cable attorney Cameron Kerry, with input from the Patent and Trademark Office and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

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.