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Hollywood Creatives Urge Congress to Pass Copyright Law

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More than 1,500 members of Hollywood’s creative community sent letters Tuesday urging Senators and Representatives to uphold strong copyright law, which is currently under review in the 114th Congress.

Roughly 1,200 members of the Creative Alliance and about 350 members of CreativeFuture signed letters encouraging “broad support” of a “strong copyright system,” according to a Tuesday press release by CreativeFuture. The organizations represent creatives in the Hollywood film, television, book, and music industries, as well as leaders of labor unions and guilds.

A number of well-known Hollywood titans signed onto the letters, including Harvey Weinstein, Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, and actor/director John Waters. Other signatories include Silicon Valley executive producer Alec Berg, Gilmore Girls producer Gavin Polone, Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal, musician T. Bone Burnett and Directors Guild of America leader Jay Roth.

“We embrace the Internet as a powerful democratizing force for our world and for creative industries,” reads one of the key points in the letter.

Other key points:

“We embrace a strong copyright system that rewards creativity and promotes a healthy creative economy”

“We proudly assert that copyright promotes and protects free speech.”

“Copyright should protect creatives from those who would use the internet to undermine creativity.”

“Creatives must be part of the conversation and stand up for creativity.”

“There is no ‘left’ or ‘right’ when it comes to respecting copyright,” the letter concludes. “The creative community stands united in support of a copyright system that has made and continues to make the United States the global leader in the creative arts and the global paradigm for free expression. Our copyright system is not perfect but, like democracy, it is better than the alternatives. It works. We urge Congress to resist attempts to erode the right of creatives to determine when and how they share their works in the global marketplace.”

While Hollywood petitions Congress on strengthening copyright legislation, a U.S. District Court judge in Florida has ruled that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) must reveal its online anti-piracy techniques to the public, TorrentFreak reported Monday.

In late 2013, online video storage site Hotfile settled a piracy complaint lodged by the MPAA and was ordered to pay $80 million to the organization. As part of a countersuit, Hotfile accused the MPAA of abusing its Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown process. The Electronic Frontier Foundation requested that the court compel the MPAA to unseal records relating to its DMCA takedown process so the public could better understand and comply with the guidelines.

Despite strenuous objection from the MPAA and several film studios, who believe unsealing the records could give copyright pirates valuable information about its methods, U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Williams sided with the EFF, ordering the MPAA to unseal the records ten years after the original suit was filed.

The records will be unsealed to the public on February 8, 2021.


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