Recent reports from the Motion Picture Association of America ("MPAA") calculate total losses to the studios from piracy at around $6 billion annually and total losses to the global motion picture industry (including domestic and foreign producers, distributors, theaters, video stores and pay-per-view operators) at $18.2 billion. It is widely believed that most of this lost revenue arises from piracy outside of the United States. Though the MPAA has been successful in fighting movie piracy with a multi-pronged approach of legislation, litigation, education and enforcement, scores of industry players feel that the problem is getting worse. In response to this growing threat, the MPAA, media companies and others continually urge the private and public sectors to step up current efforts to attack movie piracy around the world. The international nature of this problem encourages a global perspective on current developments in the effort to fight movie piracy. Accordingly, here is a summary of recent notable developments in domestic and foreign anti-piracy legislation, technology and enforcement actions as of April 20, 2007.
United States Files WTO Actions Against China (April 2007). The United States filed two trade related challenges against China with the World Trade Organization in an effort to stimulate progress on China's anti-piracy effort and to open access in China for U.S. films, music and software. According to U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, "piracy and counterfeiting levels in China remain unacceptably high" and "because bilateral dialogue has not resolved our concerns, we are taking the next step by requesting WTO consultations." A request for WTO consultations is the first step in a WTO dispute. If the parties do not resolve the matter within a 60-day consultation period, then the United States may refer the matter to a WTO dispute settlement panel. If a panel is convened, the decision would be expected to be delivered in May 2008. Note that the European Union did not join the U.S. challenge and Vivian Reding, the EU Information Society and Media Commissioner, stated on April 12, 2007 that "we will not join this complaint."
Campus Anti-Piracy Bill (March 2007). U.S. Representative Ric Keller (R-FL) introduced the "Curb Illegal Downloading on College Campuses Act" which would give universities and colleges the opportunity to use federal funds to reduce student bootlegging. Under the proposed...