The Motion Picture Association of America announced that three U.S. governors agree that “PROTECT IP” – the controversial bill which many think would have a negative impact on internet freedoms despite its intended purpose of curbing counterfeiting and illegal file-sharing – is a vital anti-piracy measure.
The organization confirmed (.pdf) late last week that governors Dannel Malloy (CT), Beverly Perdue (NC) and Gary Herbert (UT) have each written to their respective state senators to voice support for PROTECT IP (.pdf). The letters (which can be viewed as .pdfs in the same order here, here and here) all consider internet piracy a danger to the well-being of both industry employees and the economy in general.
“As you know, intellectual property piracy is estimated to cost the global economy $650 billion each year, and this theft has cost the G20 economy 2.5 million jobs,” wrote Governor Malloy to Senator Blumenthal (D-CT), employing statistics culled from a February 2011 study (.pdf) conducted by Europe-based Frontier Economics and also mentioned by his fellow new supporters.
Malloy is preaching to the choir. Senator Blumenthal has been a co-sponsor of the anti-piracy bill since its inception in May, citing an “imperative” need for laws to adapt at the same rate as the ever-expanding internet economy and those who seek to profit from illicit cyber goods.
In his message to Senator Lee (R-UT), Governor Herbert cited a provocative January study which concluded a mere 43 sites allegedly dealing in pirated content were privy to around 53 billion clicks each year.
“While counterfeiting and piracy are not new, the proliferation and extent of these activities is unprecedented,” wrote Herbert. “Criminals have turned to the Internet, abusing its virtually unlimited distribution opportunities to expand their illicit activities and profits.”
Meanwhile, Governor Perdue discussed piracy’s impact on North Carolina’s own film industry – which she says is comprised of over 3,000 citizens – in her plea to Senator Hagan (D-NC). Perdue framed piracy as “a direct attack” on those workers and urged Sen. Hagan to get on board with PROTECT IP.
The MPAA cited several institutions and businesses already behind PROTECT IP, including the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), the State International Development Organization (SIDO) and various theater chains.
“It’s no surprise that the PROTECT IP Act has generated such an outpouring of support from a broad spectrum of the government and private industry leaders who represent people impacted by content theft,” said Michael O’Leary, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs for the MPAA. O’Leary added that his organization and other supporters are “committed to doing all we can to see rogue sites legislation enacted this year.”
Recently, Paul Bigner, the MPAAs Chief Technology Officer, remarked that PROTECT IP could help stop the Internet from devolving into a “lawless Wild West.” The comment was a response to technology experts who voiced concerns over some of the bill’s lesser-discussed implications – specifically, that new security issues could arise if certain DNS-focused changes were implemented.
Other groups that have come out in opposition of certain aspects of PROTECT IP include Google and a gathering of intellectual property professors who sent a letter to Congress outlining some problems with the bill.
The MPAA has enjoyed some success last month in its perpetual struggle against piracy. The group brokered a “Copyright Alert System” deal with multiple ISPs that will find content thieves and copyright infringer on the receiving end of varying punishments – from warning emails to possible download speed reductions. Over the weekend an MPA injunction filed in June, which requested British ISP BT should be forced to block access to usenet indexing site Newzbin, was approved.