SAG Staff Testify at California Legislature Hearing on Digital Theft

SAG Staff Testify at California Legislature Hearing on Digital Theft

Los Angeles (March 22, 2010) — The California Legislature Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media held a hearing on Friday regarding legislative efforts to combat digital theft. Entitled “Stemming the Tide of Media Piracy: What is Working? What is Not? What is Left to be Done?” the hearing brought together representatives from SAG, DGA, IATSE, RIAA, MPAA and others to detail the impact of digital theft on the entertainment industry in the form of lost earnings and jobs.

“The issue of digital theft is of paramount importance to actors,” Jennifer Heater, SAG manager of government relations and policy, told the members of the committee. “What is at stake is not just the compensation which our members are directly paid for their work, but also the subsequent earnings they receive from residuals which are generated by sales to secondary markets. The reality is 43% of an actor’s income is derived from residuals.” In addition, she reported, 36% of SAG’s Health and Pension plan is derived by residuals.

“At stake for Screen Actors Guild members are not simply economic considerations. While concerned about their finances, we are also worried about the future of our art and our craft,” Heater said. “The works we create — a home-grown American product — is increasingly at risk from Internet theft. The question for us is whether our legislature is going to help protect content in our society.”

Combating the destructive practice of online theft of copyrighted motion pictures and TV shows is a top priority for Screen Actors Guild, which has worked with labor allies and industry partners to engage in intense activity designed to combat this destructive practice. For a snapshot of some of this work from the past year, click here.