The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that online rights infringements costs the U.S. economy roughly $58 billion in total output every year, more than 370,000 domestic jobs and $16.3 billion in earnings. It also is costs an estimated $2.6 billion in state, local and federal tax revenue, so the government has some incentive to fight such infringement.
The Copyright Alliance Network—which includes the American Society of Media Photographers, the American Society of Picture Professionals, the Picture Archive Council of America and many other trade associations interested in copyright protection—has been lobbying the U.S. Congress for tougher rules and laws that will help combat online infringement and theft.
A bill, known as S. 3804 and titled the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” is now working its way through U.S. Senate hearings. Now is the time for anyone interested in copyright protection to contact their senators and congress men or women. Thanks to a form developed by DigitalMusicNews.com, it has never been easier. Go here, enter your name and address, and the form letter will be sent to your senators and congressperson. If anything is going to happen, Members of Congress need to know that a lot of photographers care and are being hurt by the current lack of protection.
The following is the letter that will be sent:
Please co-sponsor and support S. 3804, the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act,” an innovative new initiative to combat online intellectual property theft.
The theft of copyrighted works like photography, music, movies, books, software and games is a devastating problem. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates such theft costs our nation's economy roughly $58 billion in total output every year; more than 370,000 domestic jobs; $16.3 billion in earnings; and $2.6 billion in tax revenue for state, local, and federal governments.
This rampant theft inhibits the ability of American businesses to invest and innovate—and stifles the capacity of American artists and creators to earn a living, support their families, and invest in their own creative development.
Slick, professional-looking websites that operate without the authorization of, or compensation to, artists and producers have increasingly become a tool of thieves around the world. Such sites deceive consumers because they carry advertisements for Fortune 500 companies and process transactions with major credit cards. S. 3804 would give the Department of Justice an expedited process for cracking down on such rogue entities. The Justice Department would target the most egregious pirate websites, go to a federal court with the evidence, and then seize the domain name. Once a site has been seized, the Court would issue an order to intermediaries—such as ISPs, payment processors, Internet registries and registrars, advertisers, etc.—that prohibits them from doing business with such rogue sites.
This legislation represents a significant step forward in our nation's approach to our piracy and counterfeiting crisis. Please support this important measure.