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CreativeFuture Asks New Congress for Greater Oversight of Internet Giants

WASHINGTON — CreativeFuture, the industry-led coalition of content creators, sent a letter to all members of the new Congress calling for greater oversight of major internet platforms.

The letter is not advocating for any specific piece of legislation, but comes amid an environment of greater scrutiny of tech companies. The CEOs of Google, Facebook, and Twitter each testified before Congress last year, while there is an expected push for some sort of privacy bill this year.

As lawmakers hold hearings, the content industry has tried to call attention to other areas, like copyright and content protection.

“We demand that major internet platforms (in particular, Google and Facebook) assume greater responsibility for illegal content distributed on their networks that damages our members’ ability to make a living,” CreativeFuture said in its letter. The organization, led by CEO Ruth Vitale, said it was signed by more than 500 major content professionals and 100,000 others.

The tech industry has long said they are taking extensive steps to curb piracy, and defends the current regime to root out copyright infringement. Internet companies are shielded from liability for third-party content on their platforms as long as they take down infringing material upon notice from the copyright holder. They say that this “safe harbor” provision in copyright law has been essential for the growth of the internet.

CreativeFuture also is calling for greater protection in trade agreements, writing that “rampant online piracy diminishes the value of the creative economy around the world, adversely affecting our favorable trade balance and American jobs. It is essential, therefore, that the United States always seeks to achieve a gold standard for copyright and intellectual property protections in all free trade agreements.”

President Donald Trump referred to the protection of intellectual property in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, as he talked about the administration’s hardline trade stance with China. “We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end,” Trump said.

The White House also released its annual intellectual property report to Congress, highlighting the administration’s enforcement efforts.

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