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CreativeFuture Calls for ‘Platform Accountability’ in Petition to Midterm Candidates

WASHINGTON — CreativeFuture, the Hollywood-led group pushing for greater content and anti-piracy protections for creators, is calling for greater “platform accountability” among internet companies in a letter being sent to 2018 midterm candidates for Congress.

Ruth Vitale, the CEO of CreativeFuture, said that the letter and petition are being sent to all of the candidates, with plans to send another next year once the new Congress is seated.

“Companies like Google and Facebook, now among the largest companies in the world, must step up to greater responsibility for the theft of creative content that they facilitate, and take proactive steps,” the letter reads. “While the creative communities recognize that the need for greater platform responsibility extends far beyond copyright infringement, our industry has long suffered from a lack of platform accountability – threatening the aspirations and livelihoods of millions of Americans. This must change.”

The letter was signed by more than 400 writers, directors, producers, and other industry leaders, and more than 100,000 signed the petition, Vitale said.

CreativeFuture and other content groups have seized on the increased scrutiny that Congress has been paying to Google, Facebook, Twitter, and social platforms, in hopes that the discussion of “platform accountability” also will include piracy.

“Some organizations and advocates, who in many cases are funded by the major online platform providers, repeatedly claim to be pro-creativity and pro-audience, yet they denigrate or block effective efforts to preserve and promote creative content, including enforcement of existing laws and voluntary industry initiatives,” the letter states. “Any company or organization that claims to be ‘against piracy’ must match their words with their actions.”

After Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress in April, MPAA chairman Charles Rivkin sent senators a letter saying that “the moment has come for a national dialogue about restoring accountability on the internet. Whether through regulation, recalibration of safe harbors, or the exercise of greater responsibility by online platforms, something must change.”

But Michael Beckerman of the Internet Association, which represents major internet companies Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon, sent a letter to senators saying that “a regulatory debate should not be driven by the proliferation of anti-internet lobbying that has hit Washington in recent months from companies and industries looking to improve their competitive odds through regulation. This is neither in the best interest of consumers nor politically popular with the millions of Americans who use and trust internet platforms.”

The focal point of the debate has been the safe harbor provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. It protects internet sites and providers from third party pirated content placed on their sites, as long as they take it down promptly upon getting a notice from the copyright holder.

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