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Lawmaker Proposes Tougher Anti-Counterfeiting, Internet Piracy Efforts

Last week, a series of anti-piracy town hall meetings were held in Hollywood

From left: Rep. Howard Berman (CA-29), Rep. Diane Watson, (CA-33) and Rep. Brad Sherman (CA-27) at U.S. Chamber of Commerce Counterfeiting and Piracy Awareness Week. Photo: Courtesy of MAYO Communications

Last week, a series of anti-piracy town hall meetings were held in Hollywood, in which a California congressional delegation, law enforcement officials and executives from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the music industry gathered to brainstorm about solving counterfeiting and piracy, which threaten the U.S. economy.

“Counterfeiting and music piracy have been going on for years, escalating to a point where it has to stop,” said Mary Wilson, one of the three original Supremes along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, who testified on August 23. “But we still have a lot of work ahead of us to do this.”

Mary Wilson of The Supremes testified on August 23. Photo: Courtesy MAYO Communications

“Congress is making Internet service providers responsible for piracy on their networks, not just those who download or share the content,” said California 28th District Representative Howard Berman, who moderated the meeting along with 33rd District congresswoman Diane Watson and 27th District congressman Brad Sherman.

“Counterfeiting and piracy are costing the U.S. economy about $250 billion annually, have led to the loss of more than 750,000 American jobs and needlessly expose consumers to dangerous and defective products,” said Berman, who also chaired a hearing last June in Washington, D.C. on reducing digital copyright violations on campus. Berman promised to secure more funds and resources for the U.S. Department of Justice, INS, Homeland Security and other federal agencies to crack down on counterfeiting and piracy.

From left to right: Marcus Cohn, RIAA; Lew Kontnik, Dir. Brand Protection, Business Continuity, Amgen; Phil Terzian, Sen. Dir. Gov. Affairs, Activision; Crystal Zarpas, Mann & Zarpas, LLP; Mike Robinson, MPAA; and Gavin Koon, International Rep., International Alliance of Theatrical State Employees (IATSE). Photo: Courtesy MAYO Communications

Rep. Sherman also believes that Congress must start enforcing intellectual and copyright laws at the borders with more investigators, prosecutors and federal trade agents. “Six to nine percent of the world trade has pirated goods from auto parts to Barbie Dolls. If the real Barbie Dolls have lead paint, just imagine what the counterfeit dolls have,” he said. All panelists agreed that the industry and government need to take a proactive approach on the street and on the Internet.

SafeMedia Corporation, a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coalition against Counterfeiting and Piracy (CACP) and an Internet Task Force Member, states that it has the technology and solutions to support this legislation.

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