The Senate on Thursday is expected to vote on legislation that would allow movie studios to access data from the Internet’s “big five” public access databases, such as the Internet Movie Database and the Access Copyright Database.
The bill, dubbed the Movie Access Data and Information Access Act, has already been introduced in the House and would require that the databases be made available by the entertainment industry or by government agencies.
The House Judiciary Committee approved the measure on Thursday after hearing from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the issue.
It’s expected to move to the full Senate, where Democrats have a majority.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected vote on the bill next week.
The measure, dubbed “the Big Five” database, would provide access to movies, television, music, video games and more.
The movie access databases include the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Movie Database, the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB) Movie Archive, the American Film Institute (AFI) Movie Library, and the Hollywood Reporter Movie Database.
While the database has been used by film studios for decades, it’s still unclear whether it’s a viable tool to access movie data.
A spokeswoman for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which represents movie studios, said the association has been working to improve access to the database.
But other industry groups, such the Motion Pictures Guild, have criticized the bill as a way to privatize the public access database.
MPAA Executive Vice President Julie Bari said in a statement that the proposed legislation “undermines public access and undermines our commitment to innovation and the free exchange of ideas.”
“We are concerned that this bill would make it more difficult for consumers to access the movies they love, particularly those that may be unavailable to them on their home computer or device,” she said.
Congress has a long history of trying to limit access to copyrighted content online.
In 2013, a Republican-led House panel tried to block a bill that would have required movie studios and cable and satellite companies to turn over movie data to a database of online copyright holders.
The effort was shot down by a Democratic-led Senate panel.
Congress also tried to force Internet service providers (ISPs) to provide access for movie and television streaming services.
But the House rejected that measure last year after it failed to pass the Senate.
The Senate is expected this week to approve a measure that would force ISPs to provide movie data access for streaming services, as well.
Congressional negotiators also pushed to pass legislation in 2012 that would prohibit the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) from receiving payments from the entertainment industries to provide entertainment content.
The legislation was not signed into law.
The National Endowments for the Humanities, the Library of Congress and the National Museum of American History declined to comment on the movie access bill.
The Entertainment Software Association, a trade group for the entertainment software industry, said in an emailed statement that it supports the bill.
The group is also working on legislation aimed at limiting the power of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies.