The Motion Picture Association (MPA) says that circumvention tools such as The Tor Network, DNS, and VPNs are a threat to legal streaming services. Could the organization be suggesting the banning of these services which happen to have legitimate uses?
The MPA has submitted an overview of coy-right-related challenges from around the globe to the US Trade Representative (USTR).
MPA’s main goal is to tackle piracy. The organization also handles copyright infringement and lobbies for its members. Traditionally the association has represented big filmmakers such as Disney and Warner Bros. However, now it is also representing streaming services such as Netflix.
The submission by the association was part of the annual report on foreign trade barriers. It will be used by the US government during discussions with foreign governments in an effort to solve the “challenges” faced by filmmakers in the US.
The most notable complaint in the submission involves circumvention services such as the Tor Network, DNS masks, and VPNs. These services can be used for geolocation piracy.
“Circumvention services, such as VPNs, DNS masks or Tor networks, are widely available in the UAE and are used to access and stream content from Internet-based TV and Video-On-Demand services that legitimately operate in different territories, but have not been licensed for the UAE,” the MPA wrote in the submission.
It added that these services are “a direct threat to legitimate platforms offering the same content in the UAE.”
Using circumvention services does not exactly fit the definition of “piracy” since users pay for the legitimate streaming service and use circumvention tools to access content not currently available in their country.
It is also worth noting that these services have legitimate uses. Banning them would be an excessive solution.
Torrent Freak reports, the submission also mentions more traditional piracy challenges such as The Pirate Bay. According to the association, the site remains a “problem” because countries such as Sweden and Germany are not cooperative or do not have laws that would help effectively tackle the problem of commercial piracy.
The MPA also referred to the raids by the US government on the top-tier Scene piracy release groups. During the raid, several top-tier sites were taken down. Filmmakers are closely monitoring the situation to make sure the sites do not come back and that they stay censored.
“The Scene was substantially disrupted in August 2020 via a global action. However, the opportunity for new groups to take their place remains, and the MPA continues to monitor the landscape to confirm that the group does not resurface,” MPA wrote in the submission.
The organization also noted that there are other publicly available P2P release groups, especially in the Western Hemisphere.
“Rather than closely-held topsites, some of these groups operate public websites and work at the P2P level.”