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Joint Statement from AFM, AFTRA, DGA, IATSE, IBT and SAG Commending Senate Judiciary Committee Passage of the PROTECT IP Act

Posted May 26, 2011

Los Angeles (May 26, 2011) – American Federation of Musicians (AFM), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) today released the following statement:

“We congratulate Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Grassley and Senator Hatch for their dedication and leadership in support of the PROTECT IP Act and commend the Senate Judiciary Committee for their unanimous vote to pass it. We also thank Senators Klobuchar and Cornyn along with Senator Coons for their leadership on S. 978, the Commercial Felony Streaming Act and look forward to similar action on S. 978 in the near future.  We will work hard to help move these two bills that so dramatically affect our members’ lives and livelihoods to enactment.

“As the Unions and Guilds representing more than 400,000 entertainment industry workers including craftspeople, actors, technicians, directors, musicians, recording artists and others whose creativity is at the heart of the American entertainment industry, we believe the PROTECT IP Act is critical to efforts to aggressively combat the proliferation of foreign ‘rogue websites’ that steal US produced content and profit from it by illegally selling it to the American public.   

“Let us be very clear: online theft is stealing. It results in thousands of lost jobs and millions of dollars in lost wages for our members. We reject the claims that shutting down illegal sites may somehow impact legitimate commercial websites. This bill clearly goes after illegal sites; legitimate and law abiding websites are not the target and we would hope that those who advocate against either of these bills are not condoning illegal activity on the Internet any more than they would condone illegal activity in their bank or grocery store. Today’s passage of the PROTECT IP Act is a significant step toward ending the ‘looting’ of the creative and artistic entertainment works that constitute our members’ hard work, and are an invaluable part of our collective cultural heritage.”

About the PROTECT IP Act:

The PROTECT IP Act provides lawmakers and the creative community with the tools to directly combat digital theft by targeting “rogue websites”—a major source of lost revenue.  “Rogue websites” refer to illegal websites that profit from the distribution of copyrighted content or the sale of counterfeit goods.  These sites are run by foreign entities that profit on the backs of creative workers and threaten their ability to make a living. 

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, broadcasters, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audio books, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet and other digital media. The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities in the 21st century. From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work and craft to enhance American culture and society. Visit AFTRA online at www.aftra.com.


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