LOS ANGELES (December 15, 2009) - 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 greatly appreciate the opportunity presented by Vice President Biden, Attorney General Holder, Secretary Locke, Secretary Napolitano, Director Mueller, IP Coordinator Espinel and other Administration officials to participate in the discussion of how to prevent the theft of intellectual property.
"The motion picture, television and sound recordings business is a vibrant and critical part of the U.S. economy - responsible for employing 2.4 million workers and generating $41 billion in wages and earnings in the United States and creating one of the few remaining trade surpluses in our economy. Additionally, the films, television programs and sound recordings created by our members are some of our country's greatest economic and cultural contributions, enjoyed by billions around the world. A unique collaboration between artists, craftspeople and business people, the creation of film, television and sound recordings requires an enormous investment of time, resources and talent by men and women who genuinely love their work and hope to continue being able to make a living doing what they love.
"However, the digital revolution has shifted the way that our members' work is delivered, posing new threats. The entertainment industry is at great risk of faltering due to rampant digital theft, as the piracy of films, television programs and sound recordings grows exponentially every year. Without action, as online theft continues unabated and grows ever easier with a click of the mouse, revenues will drop, leading to a decline in jobs, in funding for our health and pension plans and in the number and quality of new films and television programs and new sound recordings. But if intellectual property can be protected from the insidious threat posed by digital theft and counterfeiting, the Internet can become the vehicle for innovation, creation, ingenuity and job growth, instead of the undoing of a vital domestic industry. This is wholly dependent upon the creation and implementation of regulations, laws and programs to prevent, deter and enforce against the crime of digital theft.
"We thank the Vice President and the Administration for recognizing that the entertainment industry is a key driver of the U.S. economy, that piracy poses a grave threat to the health and vitality of our business and those who create and work in it, and that we must take steps now to protect this great American industry for future generations."