Industry groups form anti-piracy org

Creative America site to provide info to creative circle

Addressing growing piracy concerns, a dozen industry groups have joined to form Creative America, a nonprofit coalition aimed at fighting theft of copyrighted content.

Org will provide information to the creative community about IP protection through its website and hopes to galvanize support for the Protect IP bill before the U.S. Senate.

Bill, which has drawn opposition from intellectual property and law scholars, would authorize the Justice Dept. to go after foreign websites dedicated to illegally distributing of content to U.S. consumers.

Announcement of the new org comes on the same day that 109 intellectual property scholars sent a letter to Congress strongly opposing the bill.

“Although the problems the act attempts to address — online copyright and trademark infringement — are serious ones presenting new and difficult enforcement challenges, the approach taken in the act has grave constitutional infirmities, potentially dangerous consequences for the stability and security of the Internet’s addressing system and will undermine United States foreign policy and strong support of free expression on the Internet around the world,” the letter stated.

AFTRA, CBS, the DGA, IATSE Intl., NBCUniversal, SAG, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Viacom, Walt Disney, the Motion Picture Assn. of America and Warner Bros. have all backed the formation of Creative America.

In a release, the orgs say 140,000 jobs have been lost due to piracy and that illegitimate websites have tricked consumers into giving up sensitive personal data in order to obtain illegal product.

“The goal of Creative America is to bring together people of diverse skills, talents, interests and backgrounds who care about protecting jobs and creativity in this country,” director Jonathan Mostow said in the statement. “When the movies and TV shows that we create and finance are stolen, there is a ripple effect throughout our business. As revenue is lost, inevitably less money is available for new production.”In a letter to its members in May, the Directors Guild of America stated that “The cost of digital piracy … is conservatively estimated to be worth $75 billion (annually),” according to a February 2011 study by Frontier Economics.

Creative America is the latest in a series of recent high-profile efforts to combat IP theft.

In May, Fox Home Entertainment Intl. launched an antipiracy effort in Russia, including a pricey authentication system for each released disc. Last year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York launched Operation in Our Sites in concert with Hollywood to take down websites that offer firstrun movies and TV shows for download.

Senate has not yet set a date to vote on Protect IP.

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