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Senate Judiciary Committee Reports Piracy Bill
Official Statements by the RIAA, DiMA, NMPA, Public Knowledge, AFTRA-DGA-IATSE-SAG and MPAA
By Mi2N
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The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted unanimously to advance the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (S. 3804), colloquially known as COICA, introduced by Chairman Patrick Leahy and senior Republican member Orrin Hatch. This legislation will enable the Department of Justice to shut down "rogue websites" that specialize in providing unauthorized downloads, streaming, or sale of copyrighted content and counterfeit goods.

Statement from Mitch Bainwol, Chairman and CEO, RIAA: "We are proud to lend our voice to the chorus of supporters of this important bipartisan legislation. In a world where hackers and copyright thieves are able to take down websites, rip off American consumers and rake in huge profits operating rogue businesses built on the backs of the American creative community, the committee has taken a strong step toward fostering a more safe and secure online experience for consumers. With this first vote, Congress has begun to strike at the lifeline of foreign scam sites, while protecting free speech and boosting the legal online marketplace."

Statement from Lee Knife, Interim Executive Director of the Digital Media Association (DiMA): "DiMA commends Chairman Leahy for his efforts to combat online piracy. Websites that have no other purpose than to engage in copyright infringement pose a serious threat to our member companies, who pay royalties for the right to legally distribute music, videos, books and other forms of digital entertainment online."

"It is important for digital media innovators that any legislative effort to thwart online piracy is not so far-reaching as to trigger unintended negative consequences for legitimate online services, and we are therefore pleased with some of the changes Senator Leahy has made to the bill, including elimination of the proposed "DOJ blacklist" and addition of a "savings clause". However, the legislation still lacks clear definitions on some key terms and meaningful standards that would protect law-abiding companies from possible harm. We are hopeful Congress will address these concerns prior to the reintroduction and consideration of the legislation in the 112th Congress."

Statement from David Israelite, President and CEO of the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA): "Music publishers and songwriters today applaud the work of the Senate Judiciary Committee to advance legislation that takes on digital theft. This growing and complex problem affects a multitude of American industries and it's time for our federal policy to catch up. This reasonable bill gives federal law enforcement much-needed tools to help them effectively go after and shut down web site operators that profit illegally from the work of others. Although this is just one step in a lengthy process, it is a welcome and important signal that a strong, bipartisan majority is working together to move this bill forward."

Statement of Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge: "We are disappointed that the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning chose to disregard the concerns of public-interest groups, Internet engineers, Internet companies, human-rights groups and law professors in approving a bill that could do great harm to the public and to the Internet. We look forward to working with the Committee next year to craft a more narrowly tailored bill that deals with the question of rogue Web sites."

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE), and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) released the following statement:

"Our four guilds and unions commend the Senate Judiciary Committee for unanimously reporting S.3804, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, and recommending the bill for consideration and passage by the full Senate. The bill, introduced by Chairman Patrick Leahy together with a bipartisan group of seventeen senators, will give U.S law enforcement agencies more effective tools to fight the foreign profiteers who threaten our member's livelihoods by trafficking in stolen content.

"Together, we represent more than 300,000 film, TV, and recording artists and craftspeople in the entertainment and media industries. There are many voices in this debate but we believe few have a more real stake in the outcome than our members. That is why protecting the films, television shows, sound recordings and other content made by our members and enjoyed by audiences around the world is all the more urgent given the monumental and unchecked growth of Internet theft in recent years. The forsaken jobs and looted revenues that are so casually disregarded by both the operators of rogue sites and those who seek to protect their illegal activity reflect real wages, residuals, benefits and opportunities lost to our members forever thanks to those who knowingly and purposely traffic in Internet theft."

Statement from Bob Pisano, President and Interim CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA): "These rogue sites exist for one purpose only: to make a profit using the Internet to distribute the stolen and counterfeited goods and ideas of others. The economic impact of these activities—millions of lost jobs and dollars—is profound. That's why dozens of labor organizations and businesses groups have come together to support the bill approved by the Judiciary Committee.

"The operators of these sites use a variety of means to facilitate their goals - advertising, rentals, sales and charges for premium services. They are commonly assisted—sometimes unwittingly-- by American companies whose ads are placed on the sites by brokers. They are also often aided by enterprises that provide the financial services for their schemes.

"As Sen. Leahy has noted, these are the 'worst of the worst' online websites. The operators of these sites knowingly break the law, harm the American economy, deprive American intellectual property owners of their rights, cost American jobs and, in the case of counterfeit prescription drugs, potentially threaten the health and welfare of American consumers.

Related News from Mi2N:
» Senate Judiciary Committee Reports Piracy Bill
» RIAA Applauds Congressional Action On Rouge Sites Bill
» DiMA Applauds Sen. Leahy For Tackline Online Piracy, Urges Clarity To Prevent Unintended Consequences For Online Innovators
» NMPA Statement On Senate Committee Action On Digital Theft Bill
» Public Knowledge Disappointed With Senate Judiciary Committee Vote
» AFTRA, DGA, IATSE & SAG Applaud Committee Action On Combating Online Infringement And Counterfeits Act
» Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Bill To Crack Down On Digital Theft By Rogue Websites

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