The major movie studios have been fighting piracy for decades, claiming that billions of dollars in losses are at stake.
Increasingly, however, Hollywood has started to bring piracy onto the political agenda by describing it as a broader cybersecurity threat.
Late last week the MPAA submitted its latest call to action, responding to a Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) request to identify cybersecurity threats.
In their comments the MPAA stresses that the Internet has proven to be a tremendous tool for creativity and commerce, but that there’s also a downside.
“Unfortunately, criminal enterprises are also using the Internet to hack into networks and computers for the purpose of stealing valuable data-whether personally identifiable information, trade secrets, or content,” the MPAA writes.
Citing an entertainment industry backed report, the Hollywood studios note that pirate sites are using infringing content as bait for various sorts of scams.
“They are also using Internet ads, as well as pirated content and software or other ‘bait,’ to fund their efforts and lure Internet users into revealing sensitive information, inadvertently download malware, or unknowingly becoming a node in a botnet,” MPAA adds.
To help tackle the issue, the movie studios are hoping for “voluntary” cooperation from various stakeholders including Internet providers, search engines, payment processors, advertising networks and the domain name industry.
As an example, the MPAA notes that search engines should promote legitimate sites in their search results, while removing or pushing down pirated content.
The Government can also help these efforts by encouraging cooperation between the various stakeholders, as it did with the Copyright Alert System.
The music industry agrees with Hollywood on most of these issues. In a separate set of comments the RIAA also stresses the importance of tackling the piracy problem in order to keep the public safe.
“…rogue operators use the offer of infringing versions of our members’ sound recordings and music videos as the ‘candy’ to attract users that are necessary for them to create and exploit cyber vulnerabilities,” RIAA writes.
“In light of this, any discussion addressing malvertising or trusted downloads should also address some of the roots of these problems.”
In other words, both the RIAA and MPAA suggest that if the Government wants to increase cybersecurity, it has to help fight piracy.
The question is, however, whether the movie studios and music labels are honestly concerned about people being infected by malware, or if they are simply using the angle to get piracy on the political agenda through the backdoor.