LOS ANGELES (Dec. 1, 2010) - 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:
“We strongly support the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in seizing the Web domain names of 82 illegal websites selling counterfeit goods, including the protected works of our members.
“Rampant digital theft – including films, television programs and sound recordings – is a threat not only to our members’ livelihood and the entertainment industry, but also to the United States economy.
“The actions taken by ICE in ‘Operation in Our Sites II’ to shutter websites selling counterfeit materials further advances a worldwide effort to stop digital theft. Without action, online theft will continue unabated and grow easier with every click of a mouse.
“It is important to recognize that the appropriate legal processes were followed by law enforcement in shutting down these criminal websites. By executing court-ordered warrants, ICE ensured that the seizures were properly conducted under the law.
“We believe the operators of these sites know they are in violation of the law, but continue with their illegal websites without regard to the thousands they are hurting financially. It is our hope that actions like ‘Operation in Our Sites II’ will act as a deterrent to those websites still up and running offering counterfeited goods, and that they will choose to shut down rather than face the same fate.”
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.
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 over 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.
For More Information:
AFTRA: Christopher de Haan, 323-634-8203
DGA: Sahar Moridani, 310-289-5333
IATSE: Katherine Orloff, 212-730-1770
SAG: Pamela Greenwalt, 323-440-2892