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Joint Statement from AFTRA, DGA, IATSE and SAG at Congressional Press Conference to Discuss Harm of Internet Theft

Los Angeles - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE), and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) today released the following statement:

”As the Guilds and Unions that represent 300,000 creators, performers and craftspeople who create a multitude of diverse films, television programs and sound recordings that are sought after by consumers around the world, we welcome the opportunity to reiterate our long-held position regarding the ravages of Internet theft.  

”Illegal downloading and streaming of the content made by our members poses a devastating threat to the future of the hundreds of thousands of working men and women who make up the American entertainment industry and by extension, the millions of people working in jobs at ancillary small businesses and in cities and states across the country that support the production of the films, television programs and sound recordings.

”Professional content is a driving force behind the massive popularity of the Internet. Our members, who have always been on the forefront of technological innovation, embrace the possibilities of the digital age and the many opportunities offered by new technologies. However, along with the explosive growth of the Internet has come an equally explosive proliferation of profiteers who knowingly traffic in content they have obtained illegally and played no role at all in creating or financing.

”These profiteers turn a blind eye to the looting of one of the strongest American industries and contribute nothing to our economy or our culture.  And they - most of whom do not create jobs themselves - are willing to sacrifice the jobs of our members and the thousands of others who depend on the entertainment industry to make a living.

”Our industry has historically been one of the strongest American exports worldwide. The content created by our members is recognizable all over the world, from the smallest communities to the most cosmopolitan of cities. As creators of content, we believe that the theft of copyrighted works is the ultimate discouragement of content. Protecting jobs and fostering creativity and American ingenuity should be the first order of business for the United States government.  

”That is why we would like to sincerely thank Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers,  and House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Howard Berman for their longstanding belief in the value of creative content, their commitment to protecting American jobs and their support of real and effective enforcement measures to fight Internet theft.”