Greece vs. pirates

U.S. rep wins vow to stop ripoff of U.S. pix

WASHINGTON — Motion Picture Assn. of America chair-CEO Jack Valenti on Thursday commended the Bush administration for exacting further promises that the Greek government won’t sit and watch unlicensed TV stations pirate Hollywood product.

The U.S. government, through the World Trade Organization, brought a dispute claim against Greece in 1998 for not cracking down on fly-by-night stations. Shortly thereafter, Greece enacted legislation allowing authorities to shut down such stations immediately. Also, the country stopped delaying prosecution of copyright violators.

The efforts paid off, with criminal convictions obtained for the first time.

Now, new U.S. trade rep Robert Zoellick has secured another assurance: Greece will work to deter such pirating in the first place.

“For over a decade, TV stations in Greece have wantonly pirated American movies,” Valenti said. “I am grateful to Zoellick for championing the rights of American copyright holders and for using all available resources to ensure that America’s crown jewel cannot be taken outright.”

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