MPAA Debuts Google Search Alternative in Bid to Fight Piracy

New WhereToWatch.com site will search for legal copies of films and TV shows

MPAA studios, upset that major search engines aren’t doing enough to fend off websites featuring pirated copies of movies and TV shows, are launching their own entertainment industry search engine.

MPAA officials and studio executives announced the WhereToWatch.com site on Wednesday, touting the ad-free site as a place to find legal options to buy, rent, stream or watch titles.

“We connect you directly to content sites that provide every option available to buy, rent or stream the title you’re looking for,” MPAA Chairman-CEO Chris Dodd said in a blog post. “Provide a zip code and we’ll provide you with show times and locations for movies in theaters nearby. You can watch trailers and check out behind-the-scenes features produced by our online magazine, The Credits.”

The site is launching with information on TV shows and movies produced by the six MPAA studios but also by independents that are available through 30 sites. Among them are big sites like iTunes, Amazon and Hulu and smaller sites like SnagFilms and WolfeOnDemand.

Dodd said MPAA hopes to add additional partners later.

MPAA’s six studio members have long been unhappy that traditional search engine sites haven’t done enough to proactively remove listings of pirated content. In October, under pressure Google announced changes in its search engine matrix that were intended to better curb online piracy. The switch is supposed to make sites featuring pirated content less prominent in search listings, but the impact of the change is still being assessed.

In Dodd’s blog post on Thursday, he quoted studio executives praising the site.

“Our industry is delivering more content via more platforms today than anyone could have even imagined just a few years ago,” said Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television. “WheretoWatch.com is another great step toward facilitating a terrific viewing experience for everyone who loves TV shows and movies.”

Greg Silverman, Warner Bros.’ President of Creative Development and Worldwide Production, points out that a site like this can actually support and encourage creative storytelling, too.

Silverman said, “WhereToWatch.com is a showcase for the tremendous amount of talent and creativity that goes into making your favorite shows and movies. The creators who work hard to bring these stories to the screen benefit when audiences can easily find them on legitimate platforms. It helps create an environment where creativity is rewarded, encouraged and allowed to flourish.”

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