I have just read the details of an agreement between the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and a Seattle-based Registrar called Donuts. Donuts claims to be the largest Registrar in the world operating in the new gTLD space.
The details of the agreement were released earlier this month. The upshot is that, in relation to domains within its purview, upon proper notification Donuts will act swiftly to deal with web sites that are publishing copyright infringing material. The MPAA has been designated as a trusted body from which Donuts will accept notifications.
Clearly the MPAA has a great interest in identifying copyright infringing material but equally it needs to exercise great care. If the MPAA were to get it wrong both they and Donuts could end up red faced and in court. The agreement would probably die right there and then. So my guess is that isn’t going to happen. Given the well known overlap between copyright infringing sites and a range of perils to children and young people found in the same virtual spaces I am giving the MPAA and Donuts three cheers.
But here is the larger and perhaps more important point. If Donuts are willing to do this, why isn’t every Registrar? And if it can be done for copyright infringing sites why not other types of sites?
The scale of a wide range of different sorts of unlawful activities taking place on the internet is mind boggling. It challenges the capacity of law enforcement and legal systems around the world. We have to find innovative ways to address the problems and this seems to me to be a brilliant example of what can be done if there is a will to do it.