MPAA backs White House anti-piracy stance
January 16, 2012
By Colin Mann
Hollywood studio trade body the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has backed the Administration’s efforts to enact meaningful anti-piracy legislation. Michael O’Leary, Senior Executive Vice President for Global Policy and External Affairs, said the MPAA welcomed the Administration’s “clear statement” that legislation was needed to stop foreign based thieves from stealing the hard work and creativity of millions of American workers. O’Leary’s comments came in response to the statement by the White House regarding anti-piracy legislation.
“For too long in this debate, those that seek to preserve and profit from the status quo have moved to obstruct reasonable legislation. While many of the elements mentioned in the White House statement are critically important, we believe, as do others in our coalition, that protecting American jobs is important too, particularly in these difficult economic times for our nation. We are pleased that Chairman Leahy and Chairman Smith reiterated yesterday that they too support action. So now it is time to stop the obstruction and move forward on legislation,” he said.
He suggested that as had been made clear throughout the legislative consideration of SOPA and the PROTECT-IP Act, neither of those bills implicated free expression but focused solely on illegal conduct, which is not free speech. “We agree with Secretary Clinton’s recent statement that ‘There is no contradiction between intellectual property rights protection and enforcement of expression on the Internet’” he noted.
“We also share the Administration’s desire to encourage innovation. The American businesses that are victimized on a daily basis by global Internet thieves are among the most innovative industries in this nation and we welcome the Administration’s support of these American businesses. Every day, American jobs are threatened by thieves from foreign-based rogue websites. This deplorable situation persists because US law enforcement does not have the tools to fight back,” he claimed.
He said that while the MPAA agreed with the White House that protection against online piracy was vital, “that protection must be meaningful to protect the people who have been and will continue to be victimized if legislation is not enacted. Meaningful legislation must include measured and reasonable remedies that include ad brokers, payment processors and search engines. They must be part of a solution that stops theft and protects American consumers,” he suggested.
“We applaud the continued leadership in the House and Senate for working to enact common-sense legislation to stop foreign websites from stealing American creativity and jobs. Misinformation simply can’t be allowed to replace honest debate, and derail the critically important fight to protect American jobs. We hope the Administration’s role in this debate now will help steer the attention now to what can be accomplished and passed into law to protect American jobs.
On behalf of the 2.2 million Americans whose jobs depend on the film and television industries, we look forward to the Administration playing a constructive role in this process and working with us to pass legislation that will offer real protection for American jobs. The failure to pass meaningful legislation will result in overseas websites continuing to be a safe haven for criminals stealing and profiting from America,” he warned.