For Immediate Release:
EMA Endorses Bill Targeting “Rogue Websites”
ASSOCIATION CITES IMPACT OF ONLINE PIRACY ON LEGITIMATE RETAILERS AND DISTRIBUTORS
ENCINO, CA (September 19, 2011) … The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) today endorsed a bill pending in the U.S. Senate that would target “rogue websites” that egregiously facilitate copyright infringement by blocking their access to the Internet and denying them the financial benefits of their infringing activity.
In a letter to Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, EMA noted that online infringement harms not only copyright holders but also the legitimate retailers and distributors of copyrighted works, such as videos and video games, who directly feel the effects due to lost sales.
Rogue websites are online destinations that are designed to look like legitimate retail sites and may have names that sound like established businesses, but offer or facilitate access to products and services that infringe copyrights and/or trademarks. The Senate Judiciary Committee has noted that rogue websites “operate as virtual stores for the infringing products, are well designed and give the appearance of legitimacy. They are easily accessible by entering domain names that sound legitimate into the users’ Internet browser or typing common search terms into Internet search engines; they often accept payment through well respected credit card companies; and they often run advertisements from trusted companies.” The committee declared that rogue websites result in lost revenues to copyright holders, provide inferior products to consumers, decrease tax revenues for governments, and potentially support organized crime syndicates.
The bill endorsed by EMA, the “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011” (PROTECT IP Act, S. 968), would authorize the U.S. Attorney General to file a civil action against the registrant or owner of a domain name that accesses a foreign rogue website that conducts business directed to U.S. residents, or the foreign-registered domain name itself, and to seek a preliminary order from the court that the site is “dedicated to infringing activities.” If the court finds that the site indeed is dedicated to infringing activities, it would be authorized to issue a restraining order or injunction against the website. The Attorney General could then serve that order, with the permission of the court, on Internet service providers, search engines, payment processors, and online advertising network providers. These third parties would then be required to take “reasonable measures” to either prevent access to the rogue website (in the case of an Internet service provider or a search engine) or cease doing business with the Internet site (in the case of a payment processor or advertising network).
The PROTECT IP Act has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and is awaiting action by the full Senate.
The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) is the not-for-profit international trade association dedicated to advancing the interests of the $35 billion home entertainment industry. EMA-member companies operate approximately 35,000 retail outlets in the U.S. and 45,000 around the world that sell and/or rent DVDs, computer and console video games, and digitally distributed versions of these products. Membership comprises the full spectrum of retailers (from single-store specialists to multi-line mass merchants, and both brick and mortar and online stores), distributors, the home video divisions of major and independent motion picture studios, video game publishers, and other related businesses that constitute and support the home entertainment industry. EMA was established in April 2006 through the merger of the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) and the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA).
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