Hollywood studios, networks, and guilds and unions, and other content creators are pouring money into a broadcast and cable ad campaign, hoping to drum up support for a major piece of anti-piracy legislation, and to counter intense opposition from Internet firms and public interest groups.
Creative America, an organization recently formed to organize industry and grassroots support for the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House, said that the ads are scheduled to air on broadcast and national cable television channels, and will also appear in print form and online. The ads will run nationally for about a week on cable channels like CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, as well as on broadcast stations in the D.C. market. Organizers declined to disclose the cost of the campaign, but it was described as “substantial” and it will be one of the most significant media efforts by Hollywood to make its case for more stringent rules in Congress to curb copyright infringement on the Internet.
With edgy music and an image of hand typing on a keyboard in a darkened room, the narrator says, “They’re stealing American jobs. Internet criminals, using illegal foreign websites.” The ad calls for viewers to contact Congress to urge support for the bills.
Creative America was formed by studios and unions in part to make anti-piracy issues to rank-and-file members of the industry, as well as to the general public. But the effort has been overshadowed in recent weeks as Internet firms like Google, Facebook and Yahoo took out a full page ads in the New York Times opposing the legislation, and groups like MoveOn and DemandProgress mounted viral efforts to urge lawmakers to vote against the bills.
The ads were produced by Armour Griffin Media, including creative director Mark Armour and political consultant Chad Griffin. Armour created spots for Barbara Boxer’s 2010 reelection campaign and has specialized in issue-based advertising, including commercials for MoveOn. (Ironically, MoveOn is campaigning against the legislation). Griffin also has a specialty in ad spots for campaigns, including California ballot initiatives, and he is perhaps best known for his work spearheading the effort to overturn Proposition 8 in the federal courts via the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
The House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on its version of the legislation next week, perhaps on Dec. 14. An official markup date has not yet been announced.
Creative America also unveiled a documentary short, “Content Theft: The Big Picture,” which explores the world of “stolen films and television on the Internet.”