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Entertainment Community Announces Grassroots Organization to Fight Content Theft

Posted July 06, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   Contact: Craig Hoffman
July 6, 2011      Craig.Hoffman@creativeamerica.org

Entertainment Community Announces Grassroots Organization to Fight Content Theft

New Creative America organization is broad, industry-wide effort uniting diverse voices with shared interest in protecting jobs, creativity

LOS ANGELES – The entertainment community today announced a new initiative to build grassroots support for the fight against content theft and to protect our country’s vibrant arts and culture. Creative America, the grassroots organization organizing the effort, will begin serving as the unified voice of the more than 2 million Americans in all 50 states whose jobs are supported by film and television, as well as people in other creative fields and anyone who believes that halting the looting of America’s creative works and protecting jobs must be a national priority.

Creative America will provide a gathering place (www.creativeamerica.org) for members of the creative community to learn more about the impact of content theft on their jobs, their benefits and their ability to continue making a living in the entertainment industry. 

Global theft of movies and television shows has already cost the U.S. economy more than 140,000 jobs. Foreign websites, operated by thieves profiting off of stolen content, are highly sophisticated and designed to look legitimate. The appearance of legitimacy lures unsuspecting Americans into providing personal information, exposing them to identity and credit card theft.

Among its initial activities, Creative America will enable members of the entertainment community to demonstrate their support for the passage of important Congressional legislation that will significantly impact the fight against content theft, including the PROTECT IP Act, legislation designed to combat foreign trafficking in stolen movies, TV shows and other forms of intellectual property. 

The PROTECT IP Act, now before the Senate, would authorize the U.S. Department of Justice to go after foreign websites that are dedicated to illegal distribution of stolen movies and TV – often called “rogue sites” – where these sites are directed at United States consumers. The House of Representatives is also working on legislation to fight these rogue sites.

“People need to understand that this isn’t a victimless crime,” said Rachel Lipsey, who runs a craft services business with her husband, serving TV and film productions in Portland, Oregon. “When movies and TV get stolen, it hurts me and everyone I work with. We aren’t celebrities, we’re regular working people, and we depend on movies and TV shows being made for our living. This is about American jobs and American workers. Congress has got to do something.”

"I love my job," said Grace Yavana, production manager for the “Today” show on NBC. “Every day, I get to help make great television. But when our hard work gets stolen, it hurts us all. I don’t think most people realize that jobs are put at risk – my job and the jobs of our entire crew. We have to do something about content theft, and we have to do it now."

“Creative America is the coalition we’ve needed for a long time,” said Tom Houghton, an Emmy-nominated director of photography. "Our industry is coming together on the big common issue that is affecting all of us. We've all got a shared interest in stopping content theft."

“The goal of Creative America is to bring together people of diverse skills, talents, interests and backgrounds who care about protecting jobs and creativity in this country,” said director Jonathan Mostow. “When the movies and TV shows that we create and finance are stolen, there is a ripple effect throughout our business. As revenue is lost, inevitably less money is available for new production. That translates to thousands of people losing their livelihoods and their opportunity to create. Passing the PROTECT IP Act or other similar legislation is an important step in stemming the tide of digital theft.”

"Content theft impacts not just me but everyone I've ever worked with," said actor Clark Gregg. "I'm glad it's being taken seriously and that we are speaking out to protect our work."

Creative America results from the efforts of an unprecedented coalition of major entertainment unions, guilds, studios and networks: the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, CBS Corporation, the Directors Guild of America, IATSE International, NBC Universal, the Screen Actors Guild, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc., Twentieth Century Fox, Viacom, the Walt Disney Company, and Warner Bros. Entertainment.

"No matter what your job title is, whether you're a union or guild member, whether you're on the set or in an office, on this critical issue of content protection, we must be absolutely united," said Debbie Uyeda, manager of Inventory Operations at Paramount Pictures. "Creative America gives everyone who cares about protecting American jobs and fostering creativity a strong new voice."

Sign-up begins now at CreativeAmerica.org. On the site, supporters can learn more about content theft and what it means for them, email Congress and get updates on pending legislation via email or by following @CreativeAmerica on Twitter and through Facebook.

Statements of Support

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
“AFTRA is proud to be on the battle lines against digital theft with our sister unions, producers and other stakeholders in the entertainment and media industries. To be successful, we need a fully engaged community of union members and other professionals to stand up, make our voices heard and do our part to stop digital theft.”

CBS Corporation
“It speaks to the importance of the issue that so many organizations representing all facets of our business are rallying around this initiative together. Content remains the creative and economic heartbeat of our industry. We need voices from all corners of our respective companies and our community to fight this problem and to protect the jobs and creativity that make the content happen.”

Directors Guild of America
“The mission of Creative America is straightforward – to ensure that our industry remains strong and healthy, that people are fairly compensated for their work, that the importance of creativity to American culture is not lost in the public debate, and that this community continues to provide good jobs for hundreds of thousands of people who make the films and television shows we all love.”

IATSE International
“The IATSE joins in the industry coalition's fight against digital theft knowing the stakes are high and the potential consequences to our members dire. Good middle class jobs, with employer-paid health and retirement benefits are threatened by digital looters from around the globe. We are committed to engaging and energizing our membership and combining forces with other industry stakeholders to meet this challenge.”

NBC Universal
“Content theft threatens the viability of our industry, our company, and our jobs. Combating this growing problem will take the coordinated efforts of everyone whose incomes, benefits, and pensions are put at risk by this illegal activity. That's what makes the launch of Creative America such a significant step and why NBC Universal is behind this effort. For the first time, everyone who is directly or indirectly affected can come together with a single voice in order to make a difference.”

Screen Actors Guild
“Movies and television are an invaluable cultural resource that represent the economic well-being and creativity of many talented people. The theft of films and television shows affects everyone in the entertainment industry especially working actors who depend on residuals to make a living. Those actors also depend on Screen Actors Guild to protect their interests. We are working with our colleagues throughout the entertainment industry community to stop the proliferation of illegal content and to help get the word out that digital theft is stealing – pure and simple. It's an important issue that affects us all and that's why we are part of Creative America – united against content theft.”

Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc.
“Sony Pictures is proud to be among the organizations participating in this effort to address the corrosive problem of content theft. Creative America will give each of the talented individuals who work so hard to create entertainment that is enjoyed across the country and around the world the opportunity to share a powerful, unified voice for stronger laws and policies to protect our jobs and creativity in all its forms.”

Warner Bros. Entertainment
“Digital theft is a real problem affecting millions of jobs and workers. We believe that the combined force and unity of Creative America can provide a real solution, and Warner Bros. is proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our studio peers and industry colleagues to bring an end to this wholesale theft of our intellectual property.”

“Simply put, the new digital face of content theft is the biggest threat the entertainment community has ever faced, and all of us need to join together to fight back. Viacom has been working closely with the Obama Administration and Congress to ensure that the government continues its battle against illegal digital theft. And that's why we're supporting Creative America – so that everyone in the community has a way to participate in the industry-wide effort to fight digital theft.”

The Walt Disney Company
“The ability to distribute content on multiple platforms holds enormous promise for consumers. But for that promise to be fulfilled, it is imperative to stem the theft of the content that so many have worked to create. We are proud to be part of the effort to combat digital theft and build a powerful voice for our industry.”

Twentieth Century Fox
“The future of the entertainment industry depends on our ability to protect not only the innovative films and television shows we produce, but also the more than two million workers dedicated to creating incredible entertainment content in this country. Creative America is a groundbreaking coalition of labor and management that will elevate this issue in Washington with a new, unified voice, and we at Twentieth Century Fox are encouraging all of our employees to take action and be heard on this vital issue.”

Motion Picture Association of America
“Making a great movie or TV show takes the work of hundreds of dedicated people.  From the actors onscreen to the artists and technicians behind the camera, it's truly amazing what we can do – and where our imaginations can take us – when we work together. Creative America will give the men and women of our community a new way to speak out in the fight against content theft. If you are among the millions whose hard work helps make filmed entertainment, if you love the movies and want to stand with us against theft, please take a minute to visit CreativeAmerica.org and sign up today.”

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