You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

MPAA Chairman Charles Rivkin: Internet Platforms ‘Must Bear Responsibility’

WASHINGTON — MPAA chairman Charles Rivkin said “the message is getting louder by the day” that internet platforms “must bear responsibility” and “must do more to address the harms that, wittingly or not, they facilitate.”

Rivkin was speaking at the Aspen Forum of the Technology Policy Institute, a think tank with supporters in tech and entertainment.

He pointed to one possibility: Congress could “recalibrate” the legal immunities the platforms currently enjoy so that they would have to be more proactive in policing content on their sites. That issue has long been a fault line between Silicon Valley and Hollywood, and the tech industry has been pushing back against the idea of changing the law.

The MPAA has long pressed the platforms to take a greater effort toward curbing piracy, and has seized on the shifting sentiments in D.C. that have resulted in congressional hearings and the prospect of new legislation. Rivkin’s speech, titled “a declaration of accountability for cyberspace,” highlighted the new scrutiny that Google, Facebook, and Twitter are facing over their platforms, especially with headlines over Russian election meddling and hate speech.

“An avalanche of harms is taking place across online platforms and placing great strain on our society and the values, laws, and norms that have long defined and shaped who we are,” Rivkin said.

He called for a “conversation about how we can return the internet to its original promise: a place for vibrant but civil discourse, not one where false reports are retweeted thousands of times around the world before truth has a chance to log on.”

He said internet platforms could increase their voluntary efforts to combat abuses, including piracy and counterfeiting, but he also said that laws providing legal immunity for platforms were outdated. He said Congress could look at ways to “more explicitly require proactive steps as a condition of those protections.”

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, passed in 1996, gives immunity to platforms that publish third-party content. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 included a safe harbor provision that shields platforms from liability if they act expeditiously to take down pirated content.

“The internet policies that we still have in place were written at a time when the online platforms were nascent,” Rivkin said. “But they are nascent no longer. We live in an AI world that is still operating on an AOL policy framework. Yet many platforms still cite statutes written to address the specific conditions that existed in the 1990s to avoid accountability.”

Noah Theran, spokesman for the Internet Association, which represents major internet companies, said in a statement that the Communications Decency Act immunity “was written specifically to enable good online actors to police and remove illegal and illicit content from their platforms.

“Without intermediary liability protections it would be harder, not easier, for online platforms to keep bad actors off the internet,” he said. “These protections have created untold value for the entire American economy, with three quarters of the value of the internet going back to non-tech businesses such as movie studios.”

Rivkin pointed to Amazon as an example of a company that has signed on to a new global anti-piracy initiative called the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment. Its members also include Netflix, HBO, the six major studios, and other companies.

While he said the problems on platforms needed to be addressed together, he also said that “it’s worth examining how we got to this situation in the first place — where some believe that platform immunity, in other words, a complete absence of legal accountability, is a necessary condition for a vibrant internet.”

More Politics

  • Jeff Daniels MSNBC

    Jeff Daniels Says 'It's the End of Democracy' if Trump Gets Re-Elected

    Jeff Daniels took a swipe at President Donald Trump and the GOP during an appearance on MSNBC on Monday. Daniels spoke with Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC about his role as Atticus Finch in the Broadway production of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a story about racial politics and discrimination in 1930s Alabama, and spent the segment [...]

  • James Marsden attends the 2019 MOCA

    New Abortion Ban Laws Take Center Stage at MOCA Gala

    Forty years ago in Los Angeles, the decision to invest millions in a museum dedicated exclusively to contemporary art — not to mention its formerly desolate downtown location, where the vibe was more apocalyptic than artsy — was a risky proposition. But now that the city’s cultural heart has shifted south of Hollywood, it seems [...]

  • Spectators watch the 2019 Eurovision Song

    U.S. Music Industry Delegation Convenes in Tel Aviv for Eurovision

    This past weekend, squeezed between a string of Eurovision Song Contest parties, Tel Aviv’s posh Norman hotel played host to an intimate, invite-only dinner of music industry delegates from the United States. The rooftop-set event was designed as a highlight on the itinerary of the Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) weeklong trip to Israel. CCFP, [...]

  • Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment,

    Robert De Niro Calls for Impeachment, Imprisonment for Trump, Says Maybe Al Pacino Should Lead Instead

    Robert De Niro honored Al Pacino, his longtime friend and four-time collaborator (with Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film “The Irishman” marking their latest pairing), at the American Icon Awards, and then called for a different type of tribute for President Donald Trump — “impeachment and imprisonment.” “You didn’t think you were going to completely get away without [...]

  • CEO of T-Mobile John Legere (L)

    FCC Chairman Backs T-Mobile, Sprint Merger With New Conditions

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai gave a thumbs-up to T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed $26 billion merger, after the companies committed to enhanced 5G buildout commitments and agreed to spin off Sprint’s Boost Mobile. T-Mobile and Sprint first announced their plans to merge in April 2018, looking to combine forces to take on industry leaders AT&T and [...]

  • Billie Eilish and Debbie Harry

    Billie Eilish, Blondie's Debbie Harry Attack Abortion Ban

    Songwriting took a backseat to politics for the female honorees at Thursday night’s ASCAP Pop Music Awards at the Beverly Hilton. America’s rapidly spreading anti-abortion movement in states such as Alabama, Georgia and, most recently, Missouri — and resulting legal battles that could lead the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade — had veteran [...]

  • The Spectator Magazine Summer Party at

    Trump Pardons Former Media Mogul Conrad Black

    President Donald Trump has issued a full pardon for Conrad Black, a former media mogul who was convicted on counts of wire fraud and obstruction of justice and who also wrote a biography that praised the president last year. According to a lengthy post on Black’s website, Trump called Black and told him personally of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content