We've Got Hollywood Covered

Major Hollywood Orgs Petition White House on Piracy

Group including the MPAA and major labor groups asks for more protection for intellectual property

The major Hollywood labor groups and other industry orgs joined forces Wednesday to petition the White House for more stringent piracy protection.

In a response to a request made by the executive branch’s Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement, a group including the Motion Picture Association of America, the American Federation of Television Radio Artists, the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors submitted a joint filing, outlining their collective views.

“While (the piracy) threat takes many forms,” read a SAG release, “the growth of online theft of copyrighted works presents the greatest and most urgent challenge. The Internet in general, and broadband services in particular, offer many new and exciting opportunities to consumers; prime among them are new ways to create, distribute, and enjoy copyrighted works.”

Other orgs involved in the petition include the Recording Industry Association of America and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

Separately, the Copyright Alliance, a broad grouping which includes entitites ranging from TV networks to the MPAA to NASCAR,  also called upon the White House for strict enforcement against piracy. In its filing, the group said that in 2005, piracy cost the U.S. economy $25.6 billion in revenue.

"Every copyright industry is being hard hit by rampant counterfeiting and piracy, which leads to lost sales and challenges in exports," the group said in its filing. "In some cases, total industry revenues and jobs are in decline."
Consumer groups and specialty libraries, however, questioned whether too much government enforcement attention was being spent going after the little guy."

Meanwhile, user-rights groups urged the White House to be judicious in its approach.

In a joint filing that included input from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge urged the Obama administration undertake cost-benefit analysis for any upcoming enforcement measures, especially those involving individual users who download pirated content.

The groups also questioned the very merit of the White House spending too much time enforcing intellectual property rights.

"Copyrights and patents are private rights that confer exclusive rights on private actors as a reward for creativity or innovation and enable these actors to benefit financially from the results of these endeavors. Enforcing these rights is primarily the responsibility of rights holders," the groups said in a joint statement.