Position Paper

Voluntary Initiatives

The Copyright Alliance enthusiastically supports the use of cross-industry collaborative efforts to address the problem of online infringement. Such initiatives reduce and equitably apportion the burden of reducing infringement, removing profit from infringement, and educating users about legal alternatives.

Voluntary initiatives are an effective tool for fighting online theft.

Existing voluntary initiatives include the following:

  • The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) is a collaborative effort involving advertisers that validates tools and services that have taken measures to prevent advertisements from running on pirate sites.
  • The Copyright Alert System is a partnership between studios and record labels and ISPs that uses both educational messaging and mitigating measures to change consumer behavior on transferring illegal files via P2P networks.
  • Major payment processors have implemented an agreement with members of the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition for processing notifications of infringing activity.
  • The Principles for User-Generated Content Services is an agreement between copyright owners and online platforms that establishes standards intended to combat infringing content while allowing for uploads of original user-generated content.
  • Some copyright owners have successfully entered into voluntary agreements with domain name registrars like Donuts and Radix, where they act as “trusted notifiers” for flagging sites engaged in infringing activities.

Other areas are ripe for similar voluntary, including search, the DMCA notice and takedown process, and domain name registrars.

We should build on the success of existing voluntary initiatives

To date, most initiatives have focused mainly on film, television, and music. We therefore encourage the expansion of such initiatives, or the creation of additional initiatives that extend to other affected communities of creators and innovators. Many of these creators often cannot afford litigation and have little market leverage to address infringement on their own. Similarly, an initiative cannot be considered effective if the burden of action falls primarily on the creator; everyone in the online ecosystem has a role to play in creating a fair and sustainable marketplace.

Congress and offices like IPEC can both continue to encourage the facilitation of discussions concerning the creation of initiatives and continue to monitor the effectiveness of existing initiatives.

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