Creative Community Responds to New York Times on PROTECT IP

by Howard Gantman 06/20/2011 07:20 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Saturday’s New York Times published several letters to the editor responding to a Times editorial on the PROTECT IP Act, including one co-written by MPAA’s Michael O’Leary and Susan Cleary of the Independent Film and Television Alliance.  A few highlights below:

Michael and Susan wrote that stealing TV shows, films, and other creative works threatens jobs:

Content theft hurts everyone except the thieves who profit from it, but it especially hurts the people and businesses who make a living, feed their families and put their kids through school by making magic onscreen. This year alone, eight new TV series will start filming in New York, creating 4,700 jobs, and maybe more in the future. But when rogue Web sites siphon away wages, benefits and investments in new productions, what happens to those jobs?

This bill would protect millions in the creative community by cutting off blatantly criminal rogue sites that steal their hard work. You should stand with them.

Mitch Bainwol at the RIAA emphasized the PROTECT IP Act’s narrow scope and noted its strong support from the Senate Judiciary Committee:

This bill targets only the worst of the worst sites — those that have no commercially significant use other than to offer pirated material and for which infringement is central to the activity of the site. This is not YouTube. This is the Pirate Bay, a Web site whose founders were convicted of criminal copyright violations by a Swedish court in 2009.

…We all agree that something meaningful needs to be done to stop the rampant theft of our products, and this bill is a thoughtful and measured step in the right direction. There’s a reason it won unanimous support from the Judiciary Committee, which reflects the broad geographic and ideological range of our nation, and that, of course, is that the bill does in fact strike a terrific balance.

And Robert Atkinson at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation stressed that even if the bill won’t prevent all content theft, it will still make a difference:

Your editorial suggests that because advanced users will be able to evade some of the technical countermeasures in the Protect IP Act, these provisions should be eliminated. As you acknowledge, allowing Internet service providers to block access to rogue sites by not resolving Web addresses will not stop all piracy. Likewise, locking the doors on your car will not stop all thieves. Yet we still lock our doors.

The point is that the legislation will deter some users from obtaining infringing content, leading to benefits for our economy. With piracy causing billions of dollars of harm every year, every effort counts.

We agree.  To learn more about the PROTECT IP Act, visit our web page dedicated to rogue websites and content theft.


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