Vice President Joe Biden’s December meeting with Hollywood executives and government officials on intellectual-privacy issues is starting to pay some dividends.
Attorney General Eric Holder Friday announced the creation of a Justice Department Task Force on Intellectual Property as part of a new initiative to tackle piracy.
"The rise in intellectual property crime in the United States and abroad threatens not only our public safety but also our economic well being,” Holder said in a statement. “The Department of Justice must confront this threat with a strong and coordinated response" with federal, state and international partners.
The task force’s focus will include issues of piracy that concern Hollywood, as well as issues that affect software companies, such as security and privacy.
It will include representatives from various Justice Department offices, including the FBI and the executive office for U.S. attorneys. It also will work with federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Communications Commission.
"Theft of intellectual property does significant harm to our economy and endangers the health and safety of our citizens," Biden said in a statement. "This administration is committed to stronger and stricter enforcement of intellectual property rights, and this new task force is a step in the right direction."
Also praising the move was Victoria Espinel, who was appointed by President Obama as the White House’s first intellectual property coordinator.
"Americans produce more technologies, more brands, more creative works and more innovation than any other nation on Earth," she said in a statement. "President Obama is committed to ensuring that the value created by American workers and enjoyed by communities around the world is protected."
The move also drew praise from MPAA and the Copyright Alliance, an industry group that represents broadcasters, Hollywood unions and major media companies.
“We are grateful to Attorney General Holder for recognizing the importance of preventing the theft of creative content and enforcing laws against piracy," said Bob Pisano, President and Interim CEO of the MPAA, in a statement. “No business can sustain itself if forced to compete against the widespread theft and unlawful distribution of its products.”
The Copyright Alliance, whose membership includes AFTRA, the Writers Guild of America-West, and the Directors Guild of America, and major media companies, in a cited the potential impact of piracy.
“Millions of Americans in all 50 states depend on intellectual property rights and enforcement for their livelihoods. It is our hope that this task force will be a source of leadership and innovation, approaching the task with an open view of what might be achieved through technology, enforcement and policy,” said the group’s Executive Director Patrick Ross in a statement.