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Studios, Labor Unite Against Piracy

17 Dec, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Last week the heads of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Teamsters Union testified before federal lawmakers that piracy of theatrical and DVD movies costs U.S. jobs and directly affects the U.S. economy.

MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman and Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa separately told a congressional panel in Washington, D.C., that new antipiracy legislation would bolster American business.

The bill (H.R. 4279) would strengthen existing civil and criminal intellectual property laws, give federal and international authorities added resources and establish an office of intellectual property at the White House.

The measure is similar to antipiracy legislation proposed by the U.S. Senate.

“Some people might think it's no big deal to buy a knock-off handbag or fake DVD, but it is,” Hoffa said. “These crimes kill jobs — good jobs that my union has fought to protect for more than a hundred years.”

Glickman said intellectual theft of movies costs foreign and domestic distributors, retailers and others $18 billion a year, including 100,000 U.S. jobs.

Hoffa was critical of the federal government's efforts in stopping the flood of illegal, substandard products mainly from China.

“China's aggressive export agenda is more than our country can handle,” Hoffa said.

He said education is the key to reach a new generation of Apple iPod and Internet users who believe piracy of entertainment is not a crime.

“The parts of the bill that create new intellectual property enforcement positions within the executive branch will help us get control of the problem,” Hoffa said.

H.R. 4279 will continue its circuitous path through the legislative process when the House reconvenes in 2008 following the Christmas break.

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