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MPAA's Lawyer Answers Questions On SOPA, Google and isoHunt

Posted by: , 10:14 AEDT, Thu January 9, 2014

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The government, Google and other industries can do a lot more to combat piracy, according to the MPAA's top lawyer
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The Hollywood Reporter magazine recently talked to the Motion Picture Association's (MPAA) top lawyer Steven Fabrizio in a fascination interview that touched upon many of the legal accomplishments, and failures, for the MPAA in recent times.

Fabrizio is no stranger to the world of copyright litigation, having previously headed the litigation team at the music industry's own copyright lobby, the RIAA. Now, he is the head of a 20-attorney strong team that spends tens of millions every year setting the copyright legal agenda for the movie industry.

When asked if the money spent has been worth it, Fabrizio did not hesitate to label the MPAA's legal successes as the foundation needed for today's wide variety of legal platforms, such as Netflix. 

Fabrizio believes that "... all of those [legitimate] services, their ability to get a foothold and make commercial businesses lawfully and legitimately would have been stymied at a much greater level had the copyright industries not engaged in the efforts they did." 

Focusing on the present, Fabrizio says the industry's biggest threats today comes from "the whole BitTorrent ecosystem" and cyberlockers. Having recorded two recent major victories in both areas, initially against isoHunt and then later against Hotfile, it seems the MPAA is indeed taking these threats serious. Fabrizio also pointed out streaming sites as a potential next target for the MPAA.

As for the MPAA's failures, none come bigger than the failed SOPA (and PIPA) campaign, with the propose legislation dumped in the last minute due to overwhelming public opposition. Many subscribe to the view that one of the key moments in the defeat of SOPA was when the White House confirmed its opposition to the proposed bill, having previously made encouraging noises in support of it. When asked if the Obama administration has done enough on the piracy problem, Fabrizio was keen to stress the importance of the home entertainment industry, in terms of how many jobs are created by the industry. Fabrizio believes that "all governments around the world can always do more to help" and that "it is clearly in our national self interest to do as much as we can to protect intellectual property". 

With that said, Fabrizio doesn't foresee another troubled journey down the SOPA route. Like others in the industry, Fabrizio now favors industry wide voluntary action, such as the graduated response regime now implemented by the nation's top ISPs. 

"At this point, our industry is not seeking any legislation, and we don't see any legislation on the horizon. Again, at this point, we're really more focused on getting some of the stake holders involved in this economy to adopt meaningful and voluntary reforms," says Fabrizio.

And finally, on the touchy subject of Google, Fabrizio thinks the search giant can do a lot more to help protect intellectual property. "... it's clear that there is a lot more they could do and it's also clear that given that their business benefits tremendously by providing the search engine access to this [pirated] content, they have a great responsibility to do more," Fabrizio added.

You can read the full interview here.


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