Congress earmarks $30 mil to fight piracy

MPAA, RIAA also laud Operation Holiday Hoax

NEW YORK -- Congress agreed to provide $30 million in new funding for the battle against piracy as authorities on Monday also reported success with a recent year-end piracy crackdown code-named Operation Holiday Hoax.

The new funds target personnel and programs authorized by last year's Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act.

The funds include $20 million for new state and local economic, high technology and Internet crime prevention grants; $8 million for new FBI agents targeting IP crimes; and $2 million for new Department of Justice IP prosecutions.

"Congress took a major step forward by providing $30 million in funding for new FBI agents, federal prosecutors, and local and state law enforcement grants to protect American jobs and creativity by cracking down on the theft of movies and other intellectual property," MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said.

The MPAA and RIAA on Monday also lauded the recent Operation Holiday Hoax, which involved U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and agencies that are part of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center. The crackdown targeted illegal vendors in big U.S. cities and led to seven arrests and the seizure of 79,796 counterfeit CDs and 79,610 DVDs, they announced.

Glickman argued the crackdown was key due to the negative domino effect on the industry and its employees. "Copyright industries in the U.S. lose $25.6 billion a year in revenue to piracy, the U.S. economy loses nearly 375,000 jobs either directly or indirectly related to the copyright industry, and American workers lose more than $16 billion in annual earnings," he said.