Senate Committee Passes Bill Targeting Sites With Pirated Content

8:30 AM PST 05/26/2011 by Georg Szalai

The Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act is now cleared to move to a discussion and vote on the full Senate floor.

NEW YORK - The U.S. Senate's judiciary committee on Thursday unanimously passed the bipartisan Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, key anti-piracy legislation that the MPAA and other industry groups have been supporting .

The move is a key step for the proposal as it means that the bill, which particularly targets so-called rogue sites, is cleared to move to a discussion and then vote on the full Senate floor. This next step is expected in the next couple of months.

Members of the House of Representatives have also been looking to introduce similar legislation.

“Today’s decisive action by the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve the PROTECT IP Act sends a clear message that rogue sites - those devoted to the sale of counterfeit goods or distribution of pirated content - have no place in the legitimate marketplace," said David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center. He also lauded the committee for "taking a firm stance in defense of American jobs, consumer safety and a vibrant Internet."

Michael O’Leary, executive vp, government affairs of the MPAA, also lauded the latest step towards getting the bill passed in the full Senate.

“By helping shut down rogue websites that profit from stolen films, television shows, and other counterfeit goods, this legislation will protect wages and benefits for the millions of middle class workers who bring America’s creativity to life," he said. 

Said Jean Prewitt, IFTA CEO and president: “This legislation is critical to stop the theft that is increasing astronomically each day and we commend the Senate Judiciary Committee's swift attention and support.”

NATO president and CEO John Fithian said: “The protection of intellectual property is of vital interest to the movie theater industry and its 160,000 employees and we urge swift passage of this bill.”

American Federation of Musicians (AFM), 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), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) released the following statement:

“Let us be very clear: online theft is stealing. It results in thousands of lost jobs and millions of dollars in lost wages for our members. We reject the claims that shutting down illegal sites may somehow impact legitimate commercial websites. This bill clearly goes after illegal sites; legitimate and law abiding websites are not the target and we would hope that those who advocate against either of these bills are not condoning illegal activity on the Internet any more than they would condone illegal activity in their bank or grocery store. Today’s passage of the PROTECT IP Act is a significant step toward ending the ‘looting’ of the creative and artistic entertainment works that constitute our members’ hard work, and are an invaluable part of our collective cultural heritage.”

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