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Joint Statement Regarding "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act"

Posted September 20, 2010

LOS ANGELES – 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), and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) today released the following statement:

“As the Guilds and Unions representing more than 300,000 workers in the entertainment and media industries, we are sincerely appreciative of the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” introduced today by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and co-sponsored by Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Arlen Specter (D-PA), George Voinovich (R-OH), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

“This legislation will make it easier to shut down 'rogue' websites, which are dedicated to stealing the films, television programs and music created by our members.  The largely foreign profiteers who operate these sites rob our members of the ability to make a living from their creativity and labor, prevent funds from reaching their pension and health plans, and endanger their ability to work now and in the future. These profiteers also hurt the American economy and ultimately the American consumer because Internet theft, if left unchecked, imperils the ability of content creators and financiers to continue making the content that people love to watch.  Rogue sites look legitimate, but make no mistake – these sites are illegal and they are trafficking in illegally-obtained content, with only one goal in mind – making money from films, television programs, and recordings that they had no role at all in creating or financing.  The proposed legislation makes it clear that this kind of profiteering is both illegal and unacceptable. 

“We thank Chairman Leahy for his recognition of the stake Guild and Union members have in this situation and we look forward to working with him on this legislation as it moves through Congress.”

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