Hollywood TV and movie studios are urging the Immigration
and Customs (ICE) Service to keep the pressure on pirate web sites that steal
their shows and films.
In a letter to every member of Congress Thursday, MPAA and other groups
said they strongly supported ICE's crackdown and said that the web
sites targeted by customs are not "innocent" internet users, but
traffickers in stolen and counterfeit goods.
The letter coincided with the National Association of
Theater Owners conference in Las Vegas this week, where new MPAA
chief Chris Dodd, himself a former senator, talked about the damages of
piracy not only theaters but the entire production and distribution ecosystem
that employs over 2.4 million people. "Such theft destroys the ability
of those who finance and produce filmed entertainment to recoup their
investment, and in turn, the ability of film artists to continue to
ICE is among the agencies implementing the administration's
Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator's (IPEC) Joint Strategic Plan on
Intellectual Property Enforcement released last year, which called for
increased enforcement of IP laws via Operation In Our Sites.
"Operation In Our Sites has not only put illegal sites
out of business, but has raised public awareness about this specific form of
crime on the Internet," said MPAA. "Movies
and TV programs, some of the biggest draws on the Internet, are in many ways
the 'canary in the coal mine.' Stealing and illegally selling this
content may appear to be victimless crimes or a harmless form of theft, but
they are neither. If it is not made clear that this kind of activity is
illegal, it has the potential to become the harbinger of even more forms of
illegal activity on the Internet."