Internet Association Criticizes MPAA’s ‘Crony Politics’

The Internet Association consisting of several large technology companies criticized the MPAA. They accused MPAA of using Facebook’s controversy for “rent seeking” and “accomplice politics” to promote its own interests in a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

In April, MPAA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin used Facebook’s privacy disaster to scrutinize Internet’s current state.

Rivkin wrote “The Internet is no longer nascent – and people around the world are growing increasingly uncomfortable with what it’s becoming,” when lettering it to several Senators, connecting Internet-related privacy violation to regulation, immunities, and safe harbors.

The head of Hollywood’s chief lobbying group concerned about Facebook users is a good thing, but not everyone is convinced.

For some, the MPAA is merely exploiting the fiasco to grow its own unrelated interests.

The Internet Association is a US-based organization comprising many prominent members including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Reddit, Twitter, and Yahoo.

The MPAA criticized these companies, named or not, which made the Internet Association respond.
Internet Association president and CEO, Michael Beckerman, in a public letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, scourged the MPAA and similar lobbying groups by stating these groups hijack the regulatory debate with anti-internet propaganda.

Beckerman writes “Look no further than the gratuitous letter Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. Chairman & CEO Charles Rivkin submitted to the Energy and Commerce Committee during your recent Zuckerberg hearing.”

Beckerman: “The hearing had nothing to do with the Motion Picture industry, but Mr. Rivkin demonstrated shameless rent-seeking by calling for regulation on internet companies simply in an effort to protect his clients’ business interest.”

The Internet Association CEO added rent-seeking efforts are part of the “crony politics” used by “pre-internet” companies to protect their old business models.

“This blatant display of crony politics is not unique to the big Hollywood studios, but rather emblematic of a broader anti-consumer lobbying campaign.

Many other pre-internet industries —telcos, legacy tech firms, hotels, and others — are looking to defend old business models by regulating a rising competitor to the clear detriment of consumers.”

The crack between Silicon Valley and Hollywood is wide open.

The MPAA and other copyright industry groups want stricter regulation so that Internet companies are held accountable. However, privacy is not their primary focus.

They want internet giants to prevent privacy and compensate rightsholders. But, to use Facebook’s privacy disaster to bring this message forward was a good thing or not is something up for debate.

The Internet Association hit back at the MPAA’s efforts, but it did admit that more has to be done for internet privacy.