PROTECT IP Act Now Counts A Quarter of the Senate as Cosponsors

by Kate Spence 07/08/2011 09:18 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Thanks to U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John Boozman (R-AR), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Tom Udall (D-NM) for adding their names as co-sponsors of the PROTECT IP Act (S. 968), and for standing with the more than two million men and women whose livelihoods are threatened by film and television theft.  

Their willingness to join this fight brings the number of cosponsors of the PROTECT IP Act to 25 – fully one quarter of the Senate.  It’s a sign of the crucial importance of this legislation to jobs and local economies all across our country, and of the momentum building behind the effort to stop content theft.

For more about the PROTECT IP Act, visit our rogue websites page.

Washington, DC Gets Transformers 3 Love, Too

by Kate Spence 07/05/2011 15:09 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

The Nation’s Capital also got some screen time in Paramount Pictures’ Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, from landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial and Memorial Bridge to huge explosions near the National Mall.
 
“Movies are one of the things we’re still making in this country, and every U.S. city would like a piece of that industry,” the Washington Post’s Reliable Source wrote last week on Transformers’s contribution to Washington, D.C.’s economy. 
 
The production spent three days in D.C. last October, spending close to $2.5 million and employing 180 local residents in jobs ranging from production assistant to extras.  As the D.C. Film Office reported: “The production booked hundreds of room nights in District hotels, contracted with many DC-based vendors for a variety of goods and services, dined in local restaurants, shopped in neighborhood stores, and hired residents as cast and crew.”

Of course, the effect of the motion picture and television industry on the local economy in the District of Columbia extends further.  The industry is responsible for 4,215 direct jobs and $427 million in wages in the District, including both production and distribution-related jobs. Over 1,100 of the jobs are production-related.  In just the last couple of years, a number of televisions shows and movies have filmed in Washington, from How Do You Know? and Salt to Meet the Press and Situation Room.
 
Just goes to show you don’t always have to blow something up to make a real impact.

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Louisiana Film Industry Invests in Communities across the State

by Kate Spence 06/30/2011 07:56 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Great piece yesterday out of The News-Star (Movies Bring New Hope to Monroe) on Louisiana’s booming film industry that is spurring local economic development all over the state.  Fueled by a tax incentive that has been in place since 2002, filming has increased exponentially in Louisiana, putting people to work, invigorating local small businesses, and stimulating long-term investment in the state’s infrastructure and burgeoning creative community.

Small towns like Monroe are feeling the direct impact of the film industry’s growth in their home state, and of the economic benefits that on-location filming generates.  According to the article, R2 Productions’ New Hope is one project coming to Monroe, and founder Rodney Ray wants to turn the town into a new filming hot spot. 

Filmmakers who invest over $300,000 on in-state investments in Louisiana qualify for a 30 percent transferable tax credit, with an additional 5 percent transferable employment tax credit available on for those who hire in-state residents.  In 2010 alone, 69 movies and 18 TV series filmed in Louisiana, including Battleship, The Green Lantern and Memphis Beat.

Now third in line behind California and New York for the number of productions produced, Louisiana’s motion picture and television industry is responsible for 16,483 jobs in Louisiana, and $709.6 million in total wages, including indirect jobs and wages.  Over 7,600 are direct film and television industry employees, including more than 2,000 direct production employees.  Over 1,000 movie and TV-related businesses are now located in Louisiana, including more than 450 production-related companies. The state now has 15 soundstages and enough workers to handle 10 film crews at once.  The boom in filming, encouraged by the tax credit, has laid the foundation for a permanent motion picture industry in Louisiana.  

The film industry itself is not the only economic sector that is driven by increased production.  On-location filming has a unique economic ripple effect; when production crews come to town, they rely on local businesses for goods and services essential for their work, including equipment rentals, caterers, hardware stores, and construction companies.  Since 2007, MPAA member studios have paid an average of $101.3 million per year to local vendors, injecting capital directly into local economies.

It’s great to see that towns like Monroe are taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the state tax incentive, and we look forward to seeing more of Louisiana on the big screen. 

New Co-Sponsors of the PROTECT IP Act

by Kate Spence 06/14/2011 08:46 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Bipartisan support for the PROTECT IP act is growing. In the last several weeks, five senators have added their names as co-sponsors of this important bill to protect the creative community.

Thanks to Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Bob Corker (R-TN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Marco Rubio (R-FL) and all the other co-sponsors for supporting efforts to fight content theft. 

For more about the PROTECT IP Act, visit our rogue websites page.

'Super 8' Puts Spotlight on West Virginia

by Kate Spence 06/10/2011 12:18 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

West Virginians will recognize their home state in scenes from one of the most anticipated films of the summer, Paramount Pictures’ Super 8, which was filmed in and around Weirton, WV.  The state’s tax incentive program makes it an attractive destination for filmmakers, drawing major talent like J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg to invest in West Virginia through small business spending and local hiring.

Senator Jay Rockefeller explained the importance of on-location filming to his state:

“The Super 8 movie premier is exciting for the city of Weirton and for the entire state of West Virginia. I’m not surprised that the Northern Panhandle was chosen. Weirton’s hardworking residents certainly played a role in enticing Viacom’s Paramount Pictures to film a major production here.  It’s been a great experience for our state and it has created opportunities for hundreds of local residents to appear in the movie and more importantly, sparked millions of dollars in economic activity in the region. I hope this film is followed by many more.”

West Virginia Film Office Director Pam Haynes says that although the cameras have stopped rolling, tourism generated by Super 8 continues to benefit Weirton – Fandango recently named Weirton one of the top five movie location destinations to visit this summer.

Film and TV Incentives Spur ‘Entertainment Bonanza'

by Kate Spence 06/09/2011 14:46 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Great piece from the New York Post on the benefits New York State is reaping from its film and TV production incentives.  Production incentives continue to stimulate local economies by attracting projects that fuel small business spending and local job creation.

Calling the increase in filming “an entertainment bonanza,” the article noted that New York, which last year extended and expanded its incentive program, attracted a record number of television series to film in New York for the 2011 season.  Eight new TV series are slated to begin filming this year, creating 4,700 industry-related jobs. 

According to the Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & Television Development, New York’s 30 percent production credit has attracted 70 projects to film in the state since January.  These projects are expected to inject a total of over $1 billion into the economy.

New York officials and local businesses are speaking up in favor of the program.

Executive Director of the Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & Television Development Pat Swinney Kaufman noted the correlation between the increase in filming and the incentives:

“Last year we announced the extension and expansion of the New York State Film Production Credit program, which ensured a continued commitment to an industry with a proven record of accomplishment in creating jobs and generating tax revenue for New York.  As a result, we are bringing in more productions, creating more jobs and showcasing our state as a premier destination for filming…It’s a great time for creating jobs in New York.”

Vice Chair of the Producers Guild of America East Dana Kuznetzkoff agreed:

“The New York State Film Production Credit program has turned New York into a major player in the film and television industry.  No longer a location just for quick exterior shoots of iconic locations, New York is now a first choice when deciding where to film. The best crews in the industry plus a tremendous tax credit program are an electric combination for quality entertainment."

Echoing those sentiments was President of Kaufman Astoria Studios Hal Rosenbluth:

“The combination of New York and the State Film Production Tax Credit program are the best marketing tools we have as an industry. We have seen a record number of productions come to New York creating more jobs, expanding facilities and equipment and ultimately generating revenue for New York…The New York tax credit program results in industry-wise growth and sustainability.”

Steiner Studios Chairman Douglas C. Steiner concurred:

“As more and more television production is done in New York, the state makes more and more money.  This is simply a great business for New Yorkers, and it’s ours to lose. What’s not to like?”

Producer of HBO’s Bored to Death, Michael Stricks noted:

"As someone based in New York, I cannot overemphasize the importance of the New York State Film Production Credit program.  It helps level the playing field and brings in a great volume of work to the state.”

According to the governor’s office, the NY state production incentive program has drawn in 580 projects, generating more than $9 billion in direct spending in the state since its inception.  The $420 million per year allocated to this program through 2014 is projected to create thousands of jobs and produce $10.5 billion in direct spending in New York State. 

That sounds like a good investment to us. 

AFL-CIO: Digital Theft Hurts U.S. Workers

by Kate Spence 06/01/2011 14:38 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

The presidents of four unions representing workers in the entertainment business have sent a message to millions of AFL-CIO members asking them to stand up against content theft. 

In a DPE (AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees) Alert today, Ray Hair, International President, American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, Roberta Reardon, National President, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Matthew D. Loeb, International President, Theatrical Stage Employees, and Ken Howard, President, Screen Actors, wrote:

"Ever watch TV, see a movie or listen to recorded music? Then we thank you—because your entertainment is our work.

"Not too long ago, the ways to connect to entertainment were limited. People watched TV on a television set, went to a theater for a movie and listened to recorded music on the radio (or even a record-player).

"Then came digitization and the Internet—and like other powerful tools, people have used them for good things and bad.

"We’re asking you to help counter the bad: digital theft—illegal downloads and streaming—that hurts U.S. workers, jobs, incomes and benefits. We would like you to support legislation that will help the people whom our unions represent, and many other U.S. workers, who have jobs and earn livings. And we hope you’ll ask your family and friends to steer clear of digital theft."

California Attorney General Supports Stopping Rogue Sites

by Kate Spence 05/23/2011 06:12 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

In a letter addressed to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, Ranking Member Chuck Grassley and U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith and Ranking Member John Conyers, California Attorney General Kamala Harris echoed the sentiments of 42 colleagues who recently threw their collective weight as U.S. Attorneys General behind legislation to quell the network of rogue websites that constitute the online black market.

California, home to both the original tech and movie capitals of the world - Silicon Valley and Hollywood - continues to have one of the largest constituent bases whose jobs rely on the knowledge-based economy.  The state of California maintains its eighth place in the world economy in large part because ingenuity is valued and financial and creative investments are protected.  California has pioneered everything from the green revolution, to the surge in IT development, to biomedical research for curing diseases.  All of these seemingly disparate groups depend on IP protection to secure their investments for future innovation. 

Attorney General Kamala Harris understands that online theft drives a black market that degrades the economic and creative drivers of the state of California.  We appreciate her support for federal legislation to address online theft and applaud her commitment to keep innovators innovating.


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