In February of last year, Donuts announced entry into a “trusted notifier” program with the Motion Picture Association of America (“MPAA”). The innovative program introduced a new way to work towards mitigation of clear and pervasive cases of copyright infringement. We updated our community on the outcomes of the first renewals last June.
One year after implementation of this program, Donuts has processed a total of twelve referrals from the MPAA (an average of one per month). Of that dozen:
- Seven were suspended or deleted by the sponsoring registrar.
- Three were suspended by Donuts.
- One was addressed by the hosting provider.
- One was not acted upon by Donuts; following our normal outreach, questions arose about the nexus between the site's operators and the content that warranted further investigation. In the end, after consultation with the registrar and the registrant, we elected against further action.
Of the eleven on which action was taken, each represented a clear violation of law—the key tenet of a referral. In some cases, sites simply were mirrors of other sites that were subject to US legal action. All were clearly and solely dedicated to pervasive illegal streaming of television and movie content. In a reflection of the further damage these types of sites can impart on Internet users, malware was detected on one of the sites.
There has been concern on the part of some in the industry about this type of arrangement—namely, that it represented a “slippery slope” toward inappropriate content control, or that hundreds of domain names would be snatched away from rightful registrants. To the contrary, however, and in line with the previously published characteristics of a trusted notifier program, a mere handful of names have been impacted, and only those that clearly were devoted to illegal activity. And to Donuts’ knowledge, in no case did the registrant contest the suspension or seek reinstatement of the domain.
This partnership with the MPAA is carefully focused on pervasive illegal online piracy. As we’ve said, Donuts is extremely careful in taking action against illegal behavior. The trusted notifier program to date has been a success for rights owners, registrants and the public at large.