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Guilds and studios speak to the FCC with one voice on piracy

August 12, 2010 |  4:42 pm

Hollywood guilds and studios have found something they can agree on: An "open Internet" shouldn't mean open season on copyrighted content.

Unions representing actors, directors and below-the-line film crews joined with the Motion Picture Assn. of America in a rare joint filing at the Federal Communications Commission to "speak with one voice on the issue of Internet theft."

The unions and MPAA said they support the concept of an open Internet, but urged the FCC to provide "clear and unambiguous guidance" so that Internet service providers can "design their networks to include innovative solutions to online theft without fear of liability."

The FCC has been seeking comments regarding possible plans to change the rules regarding how the Internet and broadband services are regulated. The FCC has been looking to reclassify the Internet as a telecommunications service amid debate about so-called "net neutrality," under which Internet service providers would be required to give equal treatment to all legal Web traffic.

"We believe that an open Internet offers tremendous promise for the proliferation of diverse audiovisual content, sound recordings, and myriad others forms of expression -- it is those who break the law by exploiting these works without appropriately compensating their creators and financiers who discourage the creation of content," the groups said in their filing. 

Advocacy groups and digital watchdogs are in favor of the FCC having more oversight over the Internet, but much of the telecommunications industry and many lawmakers are concerned about the agency having a heavy hand in the flow of Internet traffic.

-- Richard Verrier