Showbiz chiefs pleased with White House commitment

WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden pledged Tuesday to employ all the resources of the federal government to mount a coordinated, multifaceted approach to stem the increasing problem concerning the piracy and theft of intellectual property.

Biden said the Obama administration is committed to pooling all the available resources within the federal government to mount the coordinated effort.

He issued the promise at a roundtable discussion on piracy. The first such gathering ever held, it included cabinet secretaries, the government’s “copyright czar” Victoria Espinel, as well as studio chiefs, media lobbyists, union leaders and legal experts. Biden said the meeting, held at the White House Conference Center, was organized to lay out the coordinated enforcement blueprint and gather insights of stakeholders to help ensure success.

“We invite you all to weigh in and let us know if we’re missing any opportunities,” he told the group.

Biden, an advocate for IP enforcement while chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he continues to raise the issue of copyright theft and its impact on economies with every foreign leader he meets. “It offends me that the international community has treated this as a mild irritant. It’s flat unadulterated theft, and it must be dealt with,” he said.

Other government participants included Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. The three also pledged to coordinate their disparate antipiracy activities and reviewed specific initiatives either under way or proposed.

One industry participant praised the administration for staging the assemblage of industry titans. He said follow-up will include submitting specific information requested by Biden.

Curiously, one topic reportedly not raised during the meeting was the FCC’s Net neutrality proceeding, a concern for numerous orgs represented in the room, especially studios. The issue simply did not come up during any discussion, said one participant.

Some 25 industry reps attended, including Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Michael Lynton, Warner Bros. Entertainment’s Barry Meyer, Viacom’s Philippe Dauman, NBC Universal’s Jeffrey Zucker and Warner Music Group’s Edgar Bronfman.

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