Recent Filings & Updates
IFTA Responds to the European Commission's Impact Assessment on the Proposed Regulation on the Country of Origin for Online Transmissions
This document presents an analysis by the Independent Film & Television Alliance [IFTA]1 of the Impact Assessment (IA)2 document released by the European Commission on September 14, 2016 regarding the proposed Regulation on extending the Country of Origin principle to the online transmissions of some broadcast services [COM(2016) 594 final]. IFTA focuses its analysis on how the IA concludes that the Commission’s ‘preferred option’ (option 2) is justified against the baseline option (status quo) and the nature of the evidence (or lack thereof) provided by the Commission to that effect.
IFTA Files Comments with the U.S. Copyright Office Regarding the Section 512 Study: Notice and Request for Public Comment Issued December 31, 2015
On April 1, IFTA submitted written comments to the U.S. Copyright Office in response to the Notice of Inquiry published in the Federal Register requesting written submissions on the impact and effectiveness of the safe harbor provisions set forth in section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).2 IFTA welcomes this opportunity to provide input as the Copyright Office evaluates the extent to which section 512 effectively addresses online infringement. Electronically submitted via www.regulations.gov.
IFTA Files Comments with the U.K. Government Regarding the European Commission’s Proposed Legislation for the Portability of Online Content in the EU
On February 12, IFTA submitted written comments to the U.K. Government’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in response to its Call for Views on the European Commission’s proposed legislation that would mandate providers of online content services in each Member State – both pay and free – to enable subscribers who are “temporarily present” in another Member State to access and use the service, provided that the online service is able to authenticate the subscriber’s Member State residence.
In its filing, IFTA urged the IPO to carry forward appropriate safeguards to the Commission that, if incorporated into the proposed legislation, will ensure a fair balance between portability of online content services and the freedom to license content on a territorial exclusive basis. Specifically, IFTA has called for the effective and robust authentication of subscribers as an absolute obligation on the affected online content services, a narrowing of the concept of“temporarily present” to a transitory nature and for a limited period of time, and a workable transition period with specific language to preserve the initial authentication obligations of online service platforms.
IFTA continues to work with our European colleagues to engage Commission staff and Member States in an effort to amend the proposed text to ensure these safeguards are in place to avoid indiscriminate cross-border access to online content services that would disrupt the territorial exclusivity that forms the economic base of film and television production.
On September 23, IFTA submitted written comments to the Trade Policy Staff Committee of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) concerning China’s noncompliance with its WTO Commitments. A public hearing on the matter was held today in Washington, DC. At present, China’s failure to fully implement the provisions of the 2012 U.S. – China Film Agreement that promote broader reform and more competition in the market, as well as the country’s introduction of new regulatory barriers for online distribution, have hampered licensing and export activity of independent films and television programming. Independents still do not have the distribution opportunities commensurate with a booming Chinese exhibition marketplace and have been blocked out of theatrical distribution on a revenue share basis since slots are given primarily to large major Hollywood studio blockbuster films.
IFTA, in both its own filing, and in notes incorporated into the International Intellectual Property Alliance’s (IIPA) filing and key testimony points, urges the U.S. Government to act at the highest levels to ensure - as a matter of priority - that China fulfills its commitments under the Agreement. IFTA also urges the U.S. Government to push China to eliminate market access and regulatory barriers affecting access to online and television distribution.
IFTA Files Comments with the U.K. Government regarding Criminal Penalties for Copyright Infringement
On August 14, IFTA submitted written comments to the U.K. Government’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in response to its Consultation on Changes to the Penalties for Online Copyright Infringement under the country’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA). Specifically, the consultation sought views on harmonizing the maximum custodial sentence for online and physical copyright infringement at 10 years. At present, ‘physical’ copyright offences under the CDPA carry a 10-year maximum custodial sentence, whereas the provisions governing online infringement only provide for a maximum two-year sentence. IFTA supports harmonizing the maximum custodial sentences at 10 years and in its filing emphasized that the current discrepancy in criminal penalties fails to reflect the massive damage that may be inflicted on rights holders as a result of infringements that occur online and the current two-year sentence for online offenses falls short of establishing an effective deterrent for such criminal activity.
Statement of International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) on Enactment of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) Legislation
The IIPA, of which IFTA is an active member, commends President Obama for his signing into law TPA legislation today, and congratulates the President, Senators Hatch and Wyden, and Congressman Ryan, as well as other Congressional supporters, for this bipartisan effort. By facilitating completion of trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, this law will help create new opportunities to invest in innovative works for consumers, expand foreign markets, preserve and promote good jobs here in America, and establish a more level playing field around the world for U.S. music, movies, videogames, books, and journals.
IFTA files comments with the Federal Communications Commission in opposition to Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable
Stating that the acquisition would threaten serious harm to independent producers in an already highly-consolidated video marketplace. A combined Comcast-TWC would be the single largest MVPD and broadband provider in the nation, giving Comcast extraordinary leverage and control over the sources and selection of video programming (and the terms and conditions on which that programming is acquired) and the ability to limit the public’s access to diverse and independent programming. IFTA reiterates the current lack of strong Net Neutrality/Open Access regulations that would ensure broadband providers, such as Comcast, do not block or discriminate against competing applications, services and content on its broadband networks. In order to protect the public interest in diverse programming and to prevent further media consolidation, IFTA urges the Commission to deny Comcast’s Applications.
As part of IFTA's Net Neutrality filing and comments Jean Prewitt, President and CEO stated,"IFTA's message is the same as in the Commission's 2010 proceeding on this issue: The FCC must pursue the most effective regulatory path to ensure that broadband providers' control over the Internet cannot be translated into market barriers preventing independent content producers and service and application providers from reaching the American public. Only with those protections in place can we be confident that the Internet will remain open."
Written Statement of the Independent Film & Television Alliance: 28th Session of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Right
IFTA's written statement from the organization's participation in the 28th session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva as an accredited Non-Governmental Organization of WIPO (June 30 - July 4, 2014).
IFTA issues formal comments in response to the European Commission’s Public Consultation on the Review of the EU Copyright Rules, as part of its effort to “ensure that the EU copyright regulatory framework stays fit for purpose in the digital environment.”
The 2014 IIPA Special 301 Report on whether acts, policies or practices of any foreign country deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights for U.S. persons.
IFTA’s Comments were aimed at ensuring that U.S. laws are effective for independent rights holders in today’s digital environment.
IFTA was part of the joint stakeholder group reviewing future market developments regarding cross-border portability of lawfully acquired audiovisual content in the European Union.