Growing Support for Rogue Sites Legislation in Pennsylvania
Author:  Paul Hortenstine
Date:  11/11/2011

Support for rogue sites legislation keeps growing in Pennsylvania.   This week, the mayor of Pittsburgh joined Philadelphia’s mayor in pledging his support for legislation that targets rogue sites and preserves jobs. 

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 will preserve American jobs and target foreign websites that steal and profit from counterfeit goods and stolen creative content like books, movies and music.

On Wednesday, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl wrote a letter in support of the PROTECT IP Act to Senators Robert Casey (a cosponsor of the bill) and Pat Toomey as well as Representative Mike Doyle.  He wrote,  

“When American-made products are counterfeited or stolen by foreign rogue websites (those dedicated to counterfeiting and piracy), American workers lose out on wages and benefits.  The U.S. economy loses $58 billion in annual economic output as a result of copyright theft of movies, music, packaged software and video games.  Our current economic climates does not allow for such loses.  The PROTECT IP Act addresses the threat posed to jobs and the economy by foreign-based rogue websites.”

The motion picture and television industry is directly responsible for 18,181 jobs and $756.3 million in wages in Pennsylvania, including production and distribution related jobs.  Nationally, 2.2 million American workers, from accountants to truck drivers to florists to make-up artists, have jobs that depend on the film and television industry.

Many major television and motion pictures have filmed in Pennsylvania.   Recently, big budget thrillers “The Dark Knight Rises” and “One Shot” filmed in Pittsburgh and the television show “Elixir” is currently in production.  Philadelphia has had its share of productions, including the recent hit “Limitless.”   In 2009 and 2010, a total of 34 films and 25 TV projects filmed in Pennsylvania, including “Law Abiding Citizen,” “Love and Other Drugs,” and “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

Mayor Ravenstahl joined another Pennsylvania mayor in support of rogue sites legislation. On October 20, Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia wrote a letter to members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation in support of rogue websites legislation.  He wrote,

“Intellectual property theft and the sale of counterfeit goods cause serious negative consequences in the US’s major cities. When foreign entities infringe upon the rights of US copyright holders or produce counterfeit US products, our economy suffers. Furthermore, counterfeit goods may pose more direct risks to consumers because counterfeit goods may be of such poor quality that they jeopardize the health and safety of their users.”

Rogue sites legislation is also supported by the bipartisan U.S. Conference of mayors.  In June, the conference adopted a resolution in support of rogue sites legislation:

“[T]he U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon Congress to pass the PROTECT IP ACT and S. 978, as much needed and important legislative initiatives to increase the ability of U.S. law enforcement to go after profit-making entities who willfully and knowingly steal intellectual property, with little or no regard for the cost in dollars, jobs, U.S. creativity and ingenuity, and revenue for cities across America.”