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The Motion Picture Association (MPA) wants tougher ID checks to be part of a new trade deal between the United States and the Indo-Pacific region. These new obligations should apply to hosts and other online services. Additionally, the film industry group wants the application tools and procedures to apply offline and on the internet as well.
Online anonymity is a great good for many people, but there are growing demands for stricter identity checks.
Such requirements are quite common offline but on the Internet they are relatively rare; at least for now.
The Cinema Association (GPA) would like that to change. The organization is particularly concerned about website operators who use false or unconfirmed identities to register for infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) services.
The definition of IaaS services is subject to interpretation, but the MPA includes domain registrars, hosting companies, CDNs, and proxy services in this category. If these companies properly verified their customers, it would be easier to go after the operators of pirate sites.
There is currently no legal obligation to carry out such extensive identity checks. However, the MPA believes that a new trade agreement between the United States and the Indo-Pacific region, as proposed by President Biden last year offers an opportunity for change.
IPEF Trade Agreement
In a letter sent to the United States Trade Representative, who co-chairs in the United States during the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) negotiations, the film industry group mentions verification as a key element of the negotiations.
“Commercial entities that intentionally distribute illegal and harmful services or content online tend to conceal their true identities when registering for online services, such as web hosting. This anonymity complicates the efforts of law enforcement order to the detriment of consumers…”, writes the MPA.
“By verifying and maintaining the identity of business customers, IaaS providers can help build consumer confidence in the safety and security of the online marketplace,” the MPA letter adds.
The MPA lists malware, data theft, and dangerous products and services as examples of concrete threats. However, we assume that online piracy is one of the main concerns of the film industry group.
Online and offline application
Hacking is also mentioned more directly in another proposed IPEF agreement. According to the MPA, a trade agreement should include a specific obligation that offline enforcement tools and procedures are also available in the digital environment.
“Piracy services steal and distribute content, depriving creators of millions of dollars in fair compensation they would otherwise use to fund American production and employ thousands of Americans.
“Inclusion of a provision in the IPEF to help ensure the full availability of online enforcement tools would address the harm of digital piracy on the American economy and American workers,” MPA notes.
IPEF is far from a done deal. A wide range of stakeholders and members of the public submitted their suggestions. It is now up to the negotiators to come up with a project that will deliver the best benefits.
A copy of MPA’s letter, authored by Senior Vice President of Global Policy and Federal Affairs Anissa Brennan, is available here (pdf)