MPAA takes down several domain names registered with Donuts

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The MPAA has begun exercising its agreements with internet providers, advertising agencies and even payment processors in order to avoid court orders and take down offending sites within ten days or less. This type of agreement started with the Donuts registry back in February of 2016.

Under this agreement, the MPAA became the “Trusted Notifier” as to what content is considered piracy for domains registered at Donuts who operates the .movie gTLD and others such as .domains, .expert, .wtf and more.

homer-donuts

Torrent Freak reports:

A few months ago this strategy was expanded to cover key players in the domain name industry. In February, the MPAA and the Donuts registry signed a landmark agreement under which the movie industry group acts as “trusted notifier” of “pirate” domains.

In other words, the MPAA has found a way to avoid having to actually file court orders in order to suspend domain names. However, there seems to be an actual investigation process which Donuts follows in order to determine these particular domain names are indeed pirating websites.

“Donuts has been extremely careful in balancing the rights of its end-user customers along with those of copyright holders. We continue to believe this is a useful and efficient manner for addressing blatant online piracy, and we encourage others in the domain name community to follow suit with similar programs,” the registry concludes. ~ quoted by Donuts on Torrent Freak.

Some of the domains were taken down at the registrar level while others were suspended by the hosting provider.

MPAA is also advocating for more domain registries to come on board with this new piracy agreement deal. They already signed a similar deal with Radax which is a large, new gTLD applicant based in Asia.

Perhaps the scariest paragraph I came across was this one on February 10th, 2016 by Torrent Freak detailing what this agreement means:

While praising Donuts for its cooperation, MPAA chief Chris Dodd took the opportunity to show that it’s indeed possible for Hollywood and technology companies to reach voluntary agreement on piracy-related matters, without intervention from the law.

While I totally agree that piracy is stealing I do not agree with this circumvention of the law and due process. This agreement makes it so the plaintiff (in this case MPAA) is also the judge while the defendant isn’t heard at all.

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I don’t think that is fair. And while this may seem to work out now, as in actual piracy sites are taken down while Donuts actually investigates, I don’t feel confident there are enough safe guards in place to prevent abuse. That is why the court process is important so that it’s fair for everyone.

What about when a website has a legitimate reason to use movie files? For instance, they take clips from several movies and compile them into a top ten list which would be protected under the fair use law.

Something like this has already happened in the YouTube community where copyright holders were abusing the copyright claim system and unfairly suspending people’s videos.

Donuts requires that any reports generated by the MPAA must be human filed and not automated bots. This makes me feel slightly better but not much.

I’d like to read your thoughts. Do you think Donuts agreement with the MPAA is a good way to prevent piracy or does it have too much potential for abuse? Let me know in the comments below.