Hong Kong Filmart: Cloud Technology Stirs Piracy Debate

With a huge expansion of Internet domain names set to launch this year, how to prevent abuse of the new technology is a growing concern for the entertainment industry in Asia.


HONG KONG -- With a huge expansion of Internet domains set to happen this year, how to stop potential abuse of addresses ending in tags such as .movie and .film was the question posed at a Filmart seminar Tuesday called “Promoting and Protecting the Screen Community in the Cloud Era.”

More than 1,900 applications for domains have been received by ICANN, the organization that administers the Internet’s address infrastructure. Google alone has applied for 100 domains, including .movie, which also counts Amazon among its suitors and could be used by peer-to-peer file-sharing or other online piracy related sites, panelists noted.

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“Google currently has no plans to disqualify P2P websites from using .movie domain names,” said Edmon Chung, CEO of DotAsia Organization.

“Digital online technology has enabled new channels of delivery for entertainment media,” added Frank Rittman, senior vp at the Motion Picture Association, Asia Pacific. “The cloud also represents a threat in that it facilitates piracy, and the pirates seem to have gotten into this space first.”

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Rittman suggested that site-blocking by Internet service providers, as practiced in Europe, South Korea, India, Indonesia and Malaysia, is a relatively low-cost and effective way of stopping piracy. He went on to criticize the fact that Hong Kong had failed to pass similar legislation when it became embroiled in a dispute over potential online censorship by China.

Said Rittman: “The legislative process in Hong Kong was hijacked by extremists and the laws were blocked over a political issue that had nothing to do with piracy and IP rights.”