Content Protection

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Content Protection FAQs

Where can I legally find movies and TV shows online?

Thanks for asking! This is a major push throughout the industry today. We know we have to deliver diverse, innovative ways for consumers to enjoy our movies and TV shows when, where and how they choose. The good news? The list is growing all the time.

How can I tell the difference between a legal site and a pirate site?

Sometimes it’s hard to sort out what’s legal and what isn’t when you’re looking for your favorite movies and television shows online. Here are some quick tips that should help you make the right choices:

  • Watch for Titles that are “Too New to be True”
  • Movies that have yet to be released in theaters or that are still out in theaters are not legally available online. If such recent titles are being offered online, they are almost invariably illegal copies
  • Trust Your Eyes and Ears
  • In many cases, the quality of illegal copies is inferior with poor sound and can appear blurry or shaky
  • Be Cautious When Websites Make Offers that are Too Good to be True
  • Be wary of “too good to be true” offers, such as those for “free” content when searching for and purchasing downloads from unfamiliar sites; they typically indicate pirated product. Look out for terms like “Unlimited Movie Downloads,” “100% legal” and “Millions of Files Shared.” Offers for one-time or yearly fees with no details and no contact information should also alert you that you have entered an illegal site. If the site avoids disclosing its location (for example, if there is no address in its contact information), this can also be a sign of an illegal website.

What is “piracy?”

Piracy is theft and includes the unauthorized copying, distribution, performance or other use of copyrighted materials. With regard to film and television, the term primarily relates to downloading, uploading, linking to, or otherwise providing access to unauthorized copies of movies, television shows or other copyrighted content on the Internet and making and/or selling unauthorized copies of DVDs and Blue Ray discs. You can learn more about different forms of intellectual property theft here.

Why should anyone care about movie piracy?

When the global film industry succeeds, everyone benefits. The success of the film industry allows studios to take a chance on more risky movies, emerging screenwriters and unknown actors. It enables them to bring big budget productions to cities across the country and pour money into local economies. It also enables our industry to employ more workers in the U.S. and around the world. The impact is clear — the global film industry creates more jobs, more entertainment choices and more opportunities for the creative professions. Protecting the original creative works of the film and TV industry from theft benefits everyone.

Does piracy really hurt the movie industry?

We’re reminded every weekend how well the box office is doing. However, box office is just one aspect of our business. For years, home video has been a bigger piece. Our studios have relied heavily on the success of their films in the distribution chain after a film is released in the theater. We know that piracy is cutting into those profits, and when those profits are reduced, the studios have fewer dollars to invest in movies, and when there is less money to invest they make fewer movies and the diversity and variety of films we love become more limited.

More importantly, if we’re making fewer movies, then fewer people will be able to make their living working on movies. We’ve also seen the impact of piracy on video stores — we’ve seen countless examples of video stores struggling to stay afloat because people are peddling DVDs of movies that are still in theatrical release right in front of these legitimate operations and stealing their business. It simply becomes a struggle to compete.

What is copyright?

Copyright protects those who author or produce creative works, whether through movies, TV shows, music, software, books or games. Copyright protection of films and television helps preserve the jobs of 2.4 million Americans who work as actors, writers, set painters, electricians, carpenters and so many others who contribute to make movie magic.

What is the difference between trademarks and copyright?

Trademarks are words, names, designs or logos used to identify the source of a product. Trademarks can last as long as they are used for that purpose. Copyright, on the other hand, gives the creators of original works certain exclusive rights to license, sell, reproduce, publicly perform and otherwise exploit the work, usually for a limited time.

What are the penalties for camcording?

Illegal recordings of movies in the theater are a major source of counterfeit DVDs sold on the street and illegal copies of movies distributed on the Internet. For this reason, camcording is a serious offense. It is a federal felony in the United States. First-time violators can be sentenced to up to five years in prison if the camcording was committed for financial gain or commercial advantage and fined up to $250,000. Forty-one states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico all have anti-camcording laws. This map offers more detailed information.

What is the MPAA doing to protect intellectual property?

To be effective, we know that we have to achieve two things. We have to be tireless champions of protecting creative works and intellectual property rights, and we have to be equally committed to clearing a path to diverse, legal choices for consumers to enjoy movies and TV shows when, where and how they choose. Toward that end, we are working with our many partners — from consumers to policymakers to law enforcement to educators to the technology community — to safeguard intellectual property rights and promote awareness of the central role our partners play in creating jobs and promoting the health and stability of our information economy.

Toward this end, we are engaged in efforts ranging from aggressively pursuing those who engage in the mass production and distribution of illegal copies of copyrighted film and TV shows, to promoting digital citizenship and education for school kids, to championing intellectual property rights protections in new trade agreements, to promoting innovative consumer choices for enjoying movies and TV shows in flexible and hassle-free new ways.

What technology does the MPA embrace?

We are open to any technology that achieves our dual objectives of expanding consumer choice and protecting intellectual property rights. We are committed to a seamless, hassle-free experience for consumers that allows them to enjoy movies and TV shows in diverse and innovative ways, and we are committed to working with the technology community to continue down this path to deliver the full promise of the digital era.