WASHINGTON (TheWrap.com) - Political action group Creative America on Tuesday announced a new campaign to raise awareness about “rogue” websites that illegally distribute movies and television programs, as well as aggressively lobby for passage of the PROTECT IP Act and Commercial Felony Streaming Act.
To accomplish its goals, Creative America, a grass-roots consortium of labor unions, guilds, studios and networks, has built a website intended to help the public lend support to the new legislation, which is expected to be introduced to the House of Representatives shortly.
The organization will also communicate via Facebook and Twitter. Its online petition has garnered more than 18,000 signatures in its first two weeks, and a public service announcement is set to air on NBC Universal television.
“The message that Creative America is imparting to members of the entertainment community and all who value American creativity and innovation is that content theft is not a victimless crime,” said Mike Nugent, executive director of Creative America, in a statement. “And with Creative America, you do not have to stand by and be a victim. You can make your voice heard. You can fight back.”
Illegal sites generate roughly 146 million visits per day and 53 billion visits per year, according to Creative America. More than 500,000 movies are illegally distributed each day worldwide, the group adds.
While these sites operate primarily outside the United States and beyond the reach of American justice, there are two bills currently before Congress that would stem the flow of the creative contraband. Both emerged from the Senate Judiciary Committee and enjoyed bi-partisan sponsorship.
The “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PROTECT IP Act)” is designed “to deter, prevent and root out websites that profit from trafficking in stolen content,” according to the Motion Picture Association of America website.
Meanwhile, the “Commercial Felony Streaming Act,” which is sponsored by senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX), “would classify the illicit online streaming of copyrighted content a felony, and bring it into line with other forms of content theft,” according to the MPAA.
Creative America’s membership includes the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, CBS Corporation, the Directors Guild of America, IATSE International, NBC Universal, the Screen Actors Guild, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Viacom, The Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros.
Organizations offering support to the campaign include The AFL-CIO, the Association of Talent Agents, the Copyright Alliance, Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc., FilmL.A., the National Association of Theater Owners, the Producers Guild of America and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.