Rogue Sites Dangerous to Consumers Buying Prescription Medication Online

by Paul Hortenstine 11/11/2011 07:25 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

An opinion piece in the Washington Times shows just how dangerous rogue sites are to consumers purchasing medicine online and it urges passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act to help curb the trafficking in tainted medicine.  Millions of Americans enjoy the convenience of purchasing prescription medicines over the Internet.   They search online for a pharmacy that will fill and mail their prescription.  However, they are often taking advantage of by rogue sites that appear to be legitimate.  These sites knowingly sell counterfeit drugs and tainted medicine that has unfortunately led to debilitating sickness and even death. 

The Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) in the House and the PROTECT IP Act (S.968) in the Senate have bipartisan support and will help target rogue sites profiting from counterfeit medicine and stolen creative content like books, movies and music.  The legislation will also preserve the 2.2 million American jobs of people who work in the television and film industry. 

In the Washington Times article, Libby Baney of the Alliance of Safe Online Pharmacies writes that rogue sites have affected her family:

“In December 2009, my sister Ali decided to refill her supply of allergy medication, a drug she had taken for years, by using what she assumed was a legitimate Internet site. On Christmas Eve, after taking the drug, she became violently ill and suffered intense migraine headaches. Ali had thought she was buying her usual prescription medication. Unfortunately, her trusted medicine is not what she received.  After Ali recovered, she learned that the website she used did not meet the rigorous Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS) accreditation standards put in place by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP).”

And the money used to purchase medication on these rogue sites often goes to fund organized crime:

“The Internet allows these illegitimate online drug sellers to operate without much fear of consequences. The small packages of fake drugs are often shipped through three or four locations, masking their true origin and making them hard to track or control. Even more chilling is that these rogue drug sites often trace back to complex organized criminal networks that are manufacturing unregulated and dangerous medicines and are knowingly peddling these dangerous drugs to consumers around the world. Rogue Internet drug sites are often a major source of funds for criminal networks.”

Rogue sites also enable people who buy medication without a prescription:

“Recent research conducted by the Partnership at Drugfree.org found that 1 in 6 Americans - 36 million people - purchase prescription medication via the Internet without a valid prescription. When consumers purchase from a website that does not adhere to U.S. law governing the use of prescriptions, they bypass all the protections put in place to protect them; namely, that the medicines are safe and have been prescribed by a physician, and that the prescription has been dispensed by a licensed U.S. pharmacist in a licensed U.S. pharmacy.”

Baney urges passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act to help target these rogue sites: 

“The bill addresses a number of important intellectual-property issues. It also helps protect consumers against the public health threat of illicit sales of medications online. The bill encourages private companies to stop doing business with illegal online drug sellers that endanger public health. Included are companies that host these sites, provide associated advertising or help facilitate their payment transactions. If enacted, this legislation could help shut down the worst-of-the-worst rogue Internet drug sellers.”

Counterfeit products on rogue sites are also a danger to the military.  This week, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on its investigation into counterfeit electronic parts in the Department of Defense supply chain.  The defense industry is very susceptible to counterfeit parts because many defense systems rely on electronic parts that are no longer produced by the original manufacturer.   Defense contractors purchase replacement parts from independent sellers, often over the Internet.

In March, the committee began an investigation into the defense supply chain—including defense contractors and subcontractors—about the unknowing purchase of counterfeit components for such things as aircraft and missile systems, often through the Internet.  So far, it has found over 1 million suspect counterfeit electronic parts that were purchased.   More than 70% of the counterfeit parts originated in China.

Categories: Content Protection, Policy

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Rogue Sites Legislation Will Help Preserve Jobs in North Carolina and New Mexico

by Paul Hortenstine 11/10/2011 11:34 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

The film and television industry supports 2.2 million middle-class people in all 50 states.  They work behind the scenes in production, and in small businesses like equipment rental, transportation, construction and food service. 

Currently, there is legislation in Congress that will preserve these jobs while targeting those who profit from selling stolen content.  The PROTECT IP Act (S.968) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) in the House have bipartisan support and are backed by businesses and labor groups.   The legislation will preserve American jobs and target foreign websites that steal and profit from counterfeit goods and stolen creative content like books, movies and music.

Two articles this week illustrate the jobs that rogue sites legislation will help preserve. 

In North Carolina, the blockbuster franchise “Iron Man” will shoot its third installment in Wilmington next May, “creating an estimated impact of more than $80 million while creating 550 crew jobs.”  The motion picture and television industry is responsible for 9,280 direct jobs and $200.5 million in wages in North Carolina, including both production and distribution-related jobs. Over 2,800 of the jobs are production-related.

The Wilmington based Star News stated that “North Carolina's film incentives program is essential to keep the industry flourishing and competitive, five experts said during a discussion Wednesday morning.”  And “government and industry officials have touted [tax incentives] as a key ingredient in landing ‘Iron Man 3.’”  In North Carolina, tax incentives include a 25% credit of up to $20 million on productions that spend more than $250,000 in the state. From 2009 to 2010, 15 films and television projects were based in North Carolina, including the television show “One Tree Hill.”

New Mexico has also recently benefited from film and television productions. The New Mexico Business Weekly reported on current movie and television productions in New Mexico that are employing hundreds of workers and their large economic impact.  From July 2010 to June 2011, 21 major productions shot in New Mexico.   They spent $232.1 million directly, which had a financial impact of $696.3 million.   About $73.8 in tax credits were awarded during that time period as part of New Mexico’s 25 percent credit on production expenditures.  The paper also reported that “Since 2003, there have been 162 major productions shot here with a direct spend of $1.4 billion, according to the state film office.”  Recent major production in New Mexico includes the television show Breaking Bad and the movies The Avengers and Cowboys & Aliens.


There is a Western television show in production:
“’Tin Star,’ a pilot episode of a Western drama series, has been filming in the state since late October, says a Nov. 7 release from the New Mexico Film Office.”  The production will run through early November and is shooting in Galisteo, La Cienega and the Valles Caldera. It is employing about 130 New Mexico crew members and more than 350 principal actors and extras.

And a film is shooting in New Mexico:
“And the Film Office announced the an independent feature film, ‘Stars,’ is shooting in Santa Fe, Española, Galisteo and Pecos through late November. It will employ about 45 New Mexico crew members and more than 125 principal actors and extras.”

Categories: Content Protection, Policy

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First Amendment Expert: Stop Online Piracy Act Upholds Free Speech

by Paul Hortenstine 11/10/2011 10:32 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

This week, noted First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams wrote that rogue sites legislation in the House will protect free speech.  This follows a letter Abrams wrote in May that affirmed that rogue sites legislation in the Senate upholds the First Amendment.  

The Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R.3261) in the House and the PROTECT IP Act (S.968) in the Senate would, if passed, target foreign rogue sites that knowingly and deliberately engage in the illegal distribution of stolen content, including movies and television shows, for profit.  The legislation will preserve the 2.2 million jobs of American workers who depend on the film and television industry.

On Monday, Abrams sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith and Ranking Member John Conyers reaffirming that the Stop Online Piracy Act in no way imperils the First Amendment.  He wrote,

“Any legislative efforts to limit what appears on the Internet, or to punish those who post materials on it, requires the closest scrutiny to assure that First Amendment rights are not being compromised. That is true of all limits on speech, and it is no less true of the Internet. But the Internet neither creates nor exists in a law-free zone, and copyright violations on the Internet are no more protected than they are elsewhere.

“The notion that adopting legislation to combat the theft of intellectual property on the Internet threatens freedom of expression and would facilitate, as one member of the House of Representatives recently put it,  ‘the end of the Internet as we know it,’ is thus insupportable. Copyright violations have never been protected by the First Amendment and have been routinely punished wherever they occur, including the Internet. This proposed legislation is not inconsistent with the First Amendment; it would protect creators of speech, as Congress has done since this Nation was founded, by combating its theft.”

Abrams wrote the letter on behalf of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE), the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the Motion Picture Association of America. 

Abrams also concluded that the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate upholds the principles of free speech.   In May, he wrote a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, Ranking Member Charles Grassley, and Senator Orrin Hatch that the PROTECT IP bill follows established free speech laws.

Categories: Content Protection, Copyright, Policy

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Counterfeit Military Parts "Threaten the Safety and Mission Readiness of Our Armed Forces"

by Paul Hortenstine 11/09/2011 10:28 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Yesterday, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on its investigation into counterfeit electronic parts in the Department of Defense supply chain.  The defense industry is very susceptible to counterfeit parts because many defense systems rely on electronic parts that are no longer produced by the original manufacturer.  This hearing illustrated the importance of passing rogue sites legislation to further protect our military and consumers from purchasing counterfeit goods. 

Rogue sites legislation, the PROTECT IP Act (S.968) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) in the House, will preserve American jobs and target foreign websites that steal and profit from counterfeit goods and stolen creative content like books, movies and music.

In March, the committee began an investigation into the defense supply chain—including defense contractors and subcontractors—about the unknowing purchase of counterfeit components for such things as aircraft and missile systems, often through the Internet.  So far, it has found over 1 million suspect counterfeit electronic parts that were purchased.   More than 70% of the counterfeit parts originated in China.

At the hearing, Chairman Carl Levin said, “The systems we rely on for national security and the protection of our military men and women depend on the performance and reliability of small, highly sophisticated electronic components.” He added, “The failure of a single electronic part can leave a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine vulnerable at the worst possible time.  A flood of counterfeit electronic parts has made it a lot harder to have confidence that won’t happen.” 

And Ranking Member John McCain stated, “These counterfeit parts threaten the safety and mission readiness of our armed forces because they are unreliable. They may work for a short time, but we do not know for how long, how well, and what will happen when they fail.”

As this hearing showed, foreign rogue sites are a danger to our national defense and our brave military men and women in uniform. Rogue sites also hurt our economy and cost us jobs.  Senator McCain is a cosponsor of the PROTECT IP Act, part of a bipartisan coalition of 39 senators who have signed up as cosponsors to the bill that is sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy.  The legislation will help target foreign sites including those that sell counterfeit military parts. 

Back in July, The Daily Caller published an article by Bob Calvert that listed the important reasons to pass the PROTECT IP Act.  He wrote,

“In January 2010, a U.S. Department of Commerce study of the military component supply chain for Defense Department agencies found that the number of counterfeit electronics entering the system increased from 3,868 incidents to 9,356 between 2005 and 2008. The study was conducted because Defense Department officials were worried that more and more counterfeit and defective electronics were finding their way into the Pentagon’s vast supply chain in ways that could affect the reliability of weapons. Unfortunately, this is the grim reality that we must confront. This situation is confounded by the availability of counterfeit products through rogue websites. 

Rogue websites steal American intellectual property and are dedicated to trafficking counterfeit products and digital theft. They dupe consumers, steal our jobs and threaten the vibrant Internet marketplace. If given the opportunity, rogue websites will sell military components and electronics to make a quick buck.

Fortunately, Congress is taking steps to provide new tools against these illicit activities and help protect the jobs of hardworking Americans and the vitality of our creative and innovative sectors. The PROTECT IP Act would cut off rogue sites from the U.S. marketplace by disrupting the flow of Internet traffic and money to the site and its operators. Congress should act to protect American jobs, creativity and consumers by enacting this legislation without delay.”

Categories: Content Protection, Policy, Technology

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Governor McDonnell and Bipartisan Coalition of Governors Support Rogue Sites Legislation

by MPAA 11/08/2011 13:07 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Today, Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia spoke at a press conference in Richmond to highlight the economic benefits of film production in Virginia and how to preserve jobs by passing rogue sites legislation.   Stephen Spielberg’s “LINCOLN” is currently filming at Virginia’s historic State Capitol.  The film will have an estimated economic impact of $35 million in Virginia.   The economic impact of the film industry in Virginia in 2010 was $344 million with 2,700 Virginians actively working in the sector.

At the press conference, Governor McDonnell spoke about the importance of rogue sites legislation to preserving jobs.  Rogue sites legislation, the PROTECT IP Act (S.968) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) in the House, will preserve American jobs and target foreign websites that steal and profit from counterfeit goods and stolen creative content like books, movies and music.

McDonnell said, “One of the things that’s very important at this stage though in film production is to be able to protect the intellectual property rights of our great film producers.  Unfortunately, we have the best storytellers, the best filmmakers, the best actors, and the best technology in America but yet so much of that is pirated by other countries.”   

He added, “It’s a significant loss to the American taxpayer and the American filmmaker.  And so, there’s legislation in front of Congress that has gotten bipartisan support, the IP protection act.  I’ve written a letter in support of that act.  And we’re very hopeful that the Congress will pass that to be able to protect the intellectual genius of Americans by not having it pirated by other countries who don’t have laws as tough as ours. “

Governor McDonnell is part of a bipartisan coalition of governors from across the country who support rouge sites legislation.   The following governors have given their support:  Dannell Malloy (Connecticut), Jack Markell ( Delaware), Pat Quinn (Illinois), Sam Brownback (Kansas), Bev Perdue (North Carolina), Brian Sandoval (Nevada), Dennis Daugaard (South Dakota), Gary Herbert (Utah), and Peter Shumlin  (Vermont).

As he indicated in his remarks, Governor McDonnell has previously expressed his support for the PROTECT IP Act.  On August 15, he wrote to Senators Patrick Leahy, Orrin Hatch, and Charles Grassley and Representative Bob Goodlatte in support of rogue sites legislation.  He wrote, “As you are aware, copyright infringement and the sale of counterfeit goods has reportedly cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs, as well as billions of dollars in lost revenue to federal, state and local governments. During these difficult economic times, preventing the loss of jobs and revenue is more important than ever.”

A video of the event is available here.

Governor McDonnell, MPAA Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd, and Lincoln Producer Kathleen Kennedy Highlight Economic Benefits of Film Industry in Virginia

by MPAA 11/08/2011 10:57 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Spielberg’s LINCOLN has Estimated Economic Impact of $35 Million

Governor Bob McDonnell, Motion Picture Association of America Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd and renowned producer Kathleen Kennedy highlighted the economic benefits of film production in Virginia during a midday press conference in Richmond at In Your Ear Studios. The press conference followed a visit by the Governor and Dodd to the set of the new Steven Spielberg film “LINCOLN,” of which Kennedy is a producer. The movie is currently filming scenes at Virginia’s historic State Capitol. 
 
“Film production means job creation,” said Governor McDonnell.   “Here in Virginia we are committed to partnering with the film industry to bring more productions to the Commonwealth in order to create more good jobs for our citizens. Today Richmond and Petersburg are bustling with the production of Steven Spielberg’s “LINCOLN,” which will have an estimated economic impact of $35 million in our state. The big screen is big business, and we want that business right here in Virginia.”
 
MPAA Chairman Dodd reinforced that message saying, “there are more than 1,100 businesses – mostly small businesses – in Virginia working in the production sector and because of the bipartisan efforts of Gov. McDonnell to secure production incentives, we are here today to tell the story of Virginians working in this vibrant industry.”
 
LINCOLN is currently being shot on location at the State Capitol in Richmond and at locations in the greater Richmond-Petersburg area, including the Executive Mansion.  It is based on the book, “Team of Rivals” by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and James Spader.
 
While a candidate for Governor in 2009, McDonnell promoted investment in the film industry in the Commonwealth as one of many ways to help spur private sector job creation. In the 2010 session of the General Assembly, the Governor’s first in office, McDonnell put forward legislation to make Virginia more attractive to film makers. Virginia now has $4 million in the Governors Motion Picture Opportunity Fund; a new $2.5 million refundable tax credit program (the state’s first ever) which began on January 1st of this year, and exempts productions from paying the Virginia sales tax. The economic impact of the film industry in Virginia in 2010 was $344 million with 2,700 Virginians actively working in the sector.

A video of the event is available here.

Categories: Job Production, Policy, Press Event

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Senators Vitter and Risch Join Growing List Who Support Rogue Sites Legislation

by TJ Ducklo 11/08/2011 09:39 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Since its introduction this past May, the PROTECT IP Act has garnered support from across the country, across industries and possibly most impressively, across the political spectrum. That bi-partisan support continues today as Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and James Risch (R-ID) have become the 39th and 40th co-sponsors to this important piece of legislation. They join the recent additions of Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-AL), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) as momentum for this bill continues to build.

The PROTECT IP Act aims to eliminate the threat that foreign-based rogue websites pose to the American creative community. When these sites steal creative content, it puts the 2.2 million jobs supported by the film and television industry in jeopardy. We sincerely appreciate Senate Judiciary Chairman Leahy and the 39 other co-sponsors of this legislation for recognizing the value of our industry and taking the necessary measures to protect those jobs and prevent the theft of our product.

For a comprehensive look at the problems caused by rogue websites and a complete list of the businesses, labor unions, guilds, law enforcement, and other stakeholders who support taking action, visit the MPAA’s newly launched Rogue Sites Webpage.

MPAA Welcomes Wendi Murdoch, Ambassador Zhang Yesui, and Tong Gang

by TJ Ducklo 11/04/2011 14:59 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Over the past week, the MPAA together with the Film Bureau of China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT) hosted a celebration of Chinese-American co-productions, showcasing 8 films across the city. This past Wednesday we featured the film “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” and were thrilled and honored that the film’s producer Wendi Murdoch and Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yesui could join us to pay tribute to this excellent film.

The relationship between the American and Chinese film industries has flourished over the past decade and building upon that relationship is a top priority for Senator Dodd and the MPAA.

We were also very proud to welcome Mr. Tong Gang, director of SARFT, to DC where he met with Senator Dodd and discussed the important relationship between our two countries’ film communities. Mr. Gang’s delegation, who travelled to Washington to co-host the week’s festivities, seem to thoroughly enjoy their visit and the entire MPAA staff was sad to see them leave. This fantastic week leaves all of us very optimistic about the future of Chinese-American co-productions.

We’d like to thank Mrs. Murdoch, Ambassador Yesui, Mr. Gang, and our other guests for joining us this week and look forward to hosting more successful events like this one in the future.


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