Netflix becomes first streaming company to join the MPAA

Netflix has become the first streaming service to join the ranks of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Tuesday, Hollywood’s most powerful lobbying group, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

It’s the first time an internet-based, non-studio has been granted membership to the 97 year-old trade association which represents six legacy Hollywood studios — all of whom endorsed the streaming company’s new membership.

“On behalf of the MPAA and its member companies, I am delighted to welcome Netflix as a partner,” MPAA’s CEO Charlie Rivkin said in a statement. “All of our members are committed to pushing the film and television industry forward, in both how we tell stories and how we reach audiences. Adding Netflix will allow us to even more effectively advocate for the global community of creative storytellers, and I look forward to seeing what we can all achieve together.”

Netflix’s new membership with MPAA comes as the streaming service has expanded production of its own branded content. On Tuesday, Netflix received 15 Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture its film Roma. This newfound success amongst legacy studios like Sony and Fox reflects Netflix’s new position as a mainstream media powerhouse.

The MPAA has a long history lobbying for stronger copyright protections, which has often alienated it from silicon valley. In 2011, the MPAA supported the passage of legislation like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP ACT (PIPA), both of which were targets of online activism and failed to be adopted into US law.

That hostility reached a peak in 2014, when the MPAA organized a secret campaign against Google, which it dubbed “Project Goliath.” The campaign was revealed by The Verge after references were discovered in emails leaked from Sony Pictures.

But with its growing roster of exclusive shows and movies, Netflix may be increasingly aligned with the MPAA’s strict stance on copyright. Earlier this month, Netflix formally left the Internet Association (IA), a prominent tech trade lobby that has often opposed the MPAA on copyright issues.