Hollywood tells lawmakers to back U.S. efforts in copyright trade talks
Hollywood urged key lawmakers Thursday to support trade negotiations that would set rules for policing copyright laws.
The Motion Picture Association of America wrote a letter to several lawmakers including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Va.) and House Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, asking them to support the Obama administration's efforts in the trade talks, which are being conducted behind closed doors in Seoul. Other countries participating in the negotiations include the United States, Canada, Japan and South Korea, along with European Union members.
In its letter, the MPAA said that new global rules are needed to protect films from Internet piracy. As more people illegally trade content online, the movie studios businesses suffer.
"The ability to finance, create and distribute entertainment, and the livelihood of the talented and dedicated men and women who work in our industry are dependent upon our ability to protect the intellectual property that is the lifeblood of our industry," wrote MPAA Chairman Dan Glickman. "Technological advances have enabled more copyrighted works to be disseminated to more people in more countries through more media than ever before."
The appeal comes amid protests of the trade talks by public interest groups and legal scholars, who say such negotiations shouldn't take place in secret. The countries are crafting a set of rules known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which would address, among other things, illegal distribution of copyrighted material over the Web.
As reported, sources who have seen drafts of the trade agreement have expressed concern that rules under consideration are too stringent and could lead to Internet service providers filtering content. If the ISPs fail to stop copyright infringements by their subscribers, those ISPs could be held be held liable by the movie, music and publishing industries, according to sources.
Glickman called the protests a "distraction" and said that they flout efforts to deal with a need to figure out how to enforce online copyright.
"Opponents of ACTA are either indifferent to this situation, or actively hostile toward efforts to improve copyright enforcement worldwide," Glickman said.
Similar letters were sent to:
Ranking Member Jeff Sessions, Senate Judiciary Committee
Chairman Max Baucus, Senate Finance Committee
Ranking Member Charles E. Grassley, Senate Finance Committee
Chairman John Conyers, House Committee of the Judiciary
Ranking Member Lamar Smith, House Committee on the Judiciary
Chairman Charles Rangel, House Committee on Ways and Means
Ranking Member Dave Camp, House Committee on Ways and Means
Chairman Henry Waxman, House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Ranking Member Joe Barton, House Committee on Energy and Commerce
November 20, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
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