America's Creative Community Welcomes Senate Judiciary Committee Passage of Bill Combating Content Theft

“Piracy is draining millions of dollars from independent film finance, eliminating the jobs that can be generated by that film making and brutally affecting the creative community overall,” said Jean Prewitt, IFTA CEO & President.  “This legislation is critical to stop the theft that is increasing astronomically each day and we commend the Senate Judiciary Committee's swift attention and support.”

WASHINGTON
Thursday, May 26, 2011

A wide-ranging coalition representing America’s creative community praised the Senate Judiciary Committee’s approval today of legislation to crack down on foreign based rogue websites that are stealing America’s creative works and selling them for profit, jeopardizing the livelihoods of millions of workers and businesses. 
The Independent Film & Television Alliance® (IFTA®), the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), and the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) hailed the Committee’s bipartisan vote to send the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (“PROTECT IP Act” S. 968) to the Senate floor.
“Piracy is draining millions of dollars from independent film finance, eliminating the jobs that can be generated by that film making and brutally affecting the creative community overall,” said Jean Prewitt, IFTA CEO & President.  “This legislation is critical to stop the theft that is increasing astronomically each day and we commend the Senate Judiciary Committee's swift attention and support.”
NATO President and CEO John Fithian said, “We applaud the Judiciary Committee’s prompt action in moving this important piece of legislation for consideration by the full Senate. The protection of intellectual property is of vital interest to the movie theater industry and its 160,000 employees and we urge swift passage of this bill.”
“The Judiciary Committee took an important step today to stop theft and save jobs,” said Michael O’Leary, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs of the MPAA.  “By helping shut down rogue websites that profit from stolen films, television shows, and other counterfeit goods, this legislation will protect wages and benefits for the millions of middle class workers who bring America’s creativity to life. 
“We thank Chairman Leahy, Senators Hatch and Grassley, and all the cosponsors for their work and support today and we look forward to continuing to work with the Senate and the House to ensure that the final legislation passed by both chambers and presented to the President provides adequate online protection of the American film and television community,” O’Leary continued.
Internet sites that steal and distribute American intellectual property are often foreign-owned and operated, or reside at domain names that are not registered through a U.S.-based registry or registrar, setting them outside the scope of U.S. law enforcement. The Justice Department and rights holders are currently limited in their options for legal recourse, even when the website is directed at American consumers and steals American-owned intellectual property.  Under the PROTECT IP Act, these foreign websites would no longer be allowed to exploit U.S. registrars, registries, Internet service providers, payment processors, search engines and ad placement services to sustain their illicit online businesses.
About IFTA®
The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) is the global trade association of the independent motion picture and television programming industry. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization represents and provides significant entertainment industry services to more than 150 member companies from 23 countries, consisting of independent production and distribution companies, sales agents, television companies, and institutions engaged in production finance.
Collectively, IFTA’s members produce more than 400 independent films and countless hours of television programming each year and generate more than $4 billion in distribution revenues annually. The organization is also widely recognized for producing the American Film Market®(AFM®), the world's largest motion picture trade event held each November in Santa Monica.
About NATO
The National Association of Theatre Owners is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing more than 30,000 movie screens in all 50 states, and additional cinemas in 50 countries worldwide.
About the MPAA
The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries from its offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Its members include: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios LLC; and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.