Under normal circumstances in these trying times in Hollywood, the indies feel frozen out by the majors, and the exhibitors have big beefs with the studios, too. Yet here they are today united because of proposed federal legislation. A bipartisan coalition of several U.S. Senators — Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Chuck Schumer (D-New York), Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin), Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) — introduced and/or are sponsoring the Protect IP Bill, which aims to fight online infringement and counterfeiting by deterring, preventing, and rooting out websites that profit from trafficking in stolen content. Uniting in support of the bill are the major studios’ lobbying group the MPAA, The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO).
According to the MPAA, the PROTECT IP Act targets foreign websites:
Formerly operating outside the realm of U.S. law, they would no longer be allowed to exploit U.S. registrars, registries, Internet service providers, payment processors, search engines and ad placement services to sustain their illicit online businesses. Internet sites that steal and distribute American intellectual property are often foreign-owned and operated, or reside at domain names that are not registered through a U.S.-based registry or registrar, setting them outside the scope of U.S. law enforcement. (more…)