Los Angeles (April 4, 2011) – 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.”
Screen Actors Guild is the nation's largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists' rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 Branches nationwide, SAG represents more than 125,000 actors who work in film and digital motion pictures and television programs, commercials, video games, industrials, Internet and all new media formats. The Guild exists to enhance actors' working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists' rights. SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. Headquartered in Los Angeles, you can visit SAG online at SAG.org.
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO, are the people who entertain and inform America. In 32 Locals across the country, AFTRA members work as actors, journalists, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audiobooks, non-broadcast industrials, interactive games, the Internet and other digital media. The 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists of AFTRA are working together to protect and improve their jobs, lives, and communities in the 21st century. From new art forms to new technology, AFTRA members embrace change in their work and craft to enhance American culture and society. Visit AFTRA online at www.aftra.com.
The Directors Guild of America was founded in 1936 to protect the economic and creative rights of directors. Over the years its membership has expanded to include the directorial team - Unit Production Managers, Assistant Directors, Associate Directors, Stage Managers and Production Associates. Today, through the collective voice of more than 14,000 members, the Guild seeks to protect the rights of directorial teams, to contend for their creative freedom and strengthen their ability to develop meaningful and lifelong careers in film, tape and digital media.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada, AFL-CIO, CLC (IATSE) is one of the largest entertainment labor unions in the world and represents over 110,000 technicians, artisans and craftspeople employed in stagecraft, motion picture and television production, the trade show industry, and affiliated crafts throughout the United States, Its Territories and Canada. For background information on the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees: www.iatse-intl.org.
# # #
Christopher de Haan