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Top Industry Execs Meet with Biden on Piracy

VP said the administration is committed to stepping up anti-piracy enforcement — but was short on specifics.

Movie and media execs are hopeful the Obama administration will step up the already aggressive anti-piracy efforts of the Bush administration, in the wake of their White House meeting Tuesday with Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and other top administration officials.

“We believe this meeting is an important step forward to stem the tide of content theft,” said Motion Picture Association of America president Dan Glickman, one of the meeting’s attendees, in a statement. “We are confident that the vice president and the Obama Administration recognize just how crucial America’s intellectual property is to our nation’s leadership in the global economy.”

Hollywood unions, some of whose top officials also attended, also praised the meeting.

“We thank the vice president and the administration for recognizing that the entertainment industry is a key driver of the U.S. economy, that piracy poses a grave threat to the health and vitality of our business and those who create and work in it, and that we must take steps now to protect this great American industry for future generations,” said a statement issued by unions including AFTRA, the Directors Guild of America, and the Screen Actors Guild.

The list of top entertainment-industry officials who attended the 75-minute White House meeting and discussion included Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman-CEO Michael Lynton; Warner Bros. Entertainment chairman-CEO Barry Meyer; Time Warner Executive VP Carol Melton; Viacom chairman-CEO Philippe Dauman; NBC Universal CEO Jeffrey Zucker, Motion Picture Association of America chairman-CEO Daniel Glickman; Directors Guild of America president Taylor Hackford and AFTRA national executive director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth.

Vice President Biden at the meeting questioned why so much of the international community treated pirated content as “a minor irritant” and said the administration is committed to stepping up anti-piracy enforcement, though he was short on specifics.

He promised a “coordinated” effort that would include all government agencies.

Holder said the Justice Department had reinvigorated the intellectual property task force formed several years ago and would press forward with enforcement.

But not all the reaction to the meet was positive.

One public interest group questioned the meeting — and all the attention on piracy.

“Although the meeting purports to bring together ‘all of the stakeholders to discuss ways to combat piracy in this rapidly changing technological age,’ some stakeholders are noticeably missing,” Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge, pointed to the absence of consumer groups and, in a statement, added: “It is unclear why three cabinet officers, several subcabinet officers, the directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Secret Service are needed to tend to the worries of the big media companies, particularly the motion-picture industry which is completing a year in which it will set box-office records.”