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DGA, SAG-AFTRA and IATSE Urge Congress To Update Internet Copyright Law

19 April, 2018 (17:28) | 2016 | By: Arlin Miller

 

 

Guide to the International Implications Act 1891

by David Robb
April 19, 2018 4:12pm

As Congress continues to investigate Cambridge Analytica’s unauthorized access to the private information of more than 87 million Facebook users during the 2016 election, the leaders of the DGA, SAG-AFTRA and IATSE have urged the Senate to look at the “broader context” of Internet regulations that they say allowed the breach to happen in the first place.

Specifically, the union leaders want the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees, which heard testimony from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg last week, to update the “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, which limits the liability of Internet service providers for user-created copyright infringement. The MPAA made a similar plea last week.

“As you focus on the critical issue of privacy in the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica incident, we echo the concerns of the MPAA and others, and urge you to examine the situation in a broader context,” the union leaders said in a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Judiciary and Commerce committees. Read it in full below.
DGA/SAG-AFTRA/IATSE

Signed by DGA national executive director Russell Hollander, SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White and IATSE international president Matt Loeb, the letter adds: “Originally meant to drive innovation, the early ground rules governing the Internet were deliberately lax to encourage the experimentation deemed necessary for the growth of what was then a fledgling medium. However, with market valuations that now dwarf the GDPs of entire nations, today’s Silicon Valley giants have the resources and capabilities to abide by the norms that apply to other corporations.

“The ramifications have long been an unfortunate reality for our industry – film and television – which relies so heavily on strong copyright protections. The immunity of safe harbor for decades shielded internet companies from liability.

“Our members – armies of creators, performers, skilled craftspeople and workers who often dedicate weeks, months, even years of their lives to a single feature film or television series – have been among those hit hardest.”

Here is the full text of the letter:

Dear Chairmen Grassley and Thune, and Ranking Members Feinstein and Nelson:

On behalf of the 17,000 members of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), 160,000 of SAG-AFTRA, and 140,000 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), we thank you for advancing an important dialogue in our modern times. As you focus on the critical issue of privacy in the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica incident, we echo the concerns of the MPAA and others, and urge you to examine the situation in a broader context.

The internet is an incredibly important tool and provides substantial value to our members, the global economy and the general public. Yet there have been an increasing number of complex and troubling issues that have arisen lately related to the lack of accountability for online platforms. As new revelations mount, so too does our nation’s cognitive dissonance between an internet that is an essential part of our daily lives, and one that signifies a breach of trust.

Originally meant to drive innovation, the early ground rules governing the internet were deliberately lax to encourage the experimentation deemed necessary for the growth of what was then a fledgling medium. However, with market valuations that now dwarf the GDPs of entire nations, today’s Silicon Valley giants have the resources and capabilities to abide by the norms that apply to other corporations.

The ramifications have long been an unfortunate reality for our industry – film and television – which relies so heavily on strong copyright protections. The immunity of safe harbor for decades shielded internet companies from liability. Our members – armies of creators, performers, skilled craftspeople and workers who often dedicate weeks, months, even years of their lives to a single feature film or television series – have been among those hit hardest. We are also concerned about the massive privacy violations and threats that have been unleashed, particularly on performers and broadcasters, which are at record highs. Despite the fact that leading online players have matured into massive global companies, the rules still haven’t changed.

We couldn’t agree more that the time for a national conversation about accountability for online gatekeepers is now. We must delve into frank discussions about unintended consequences, and how they can be addressed. Our future depends on it. We thank you for your leadership and consideration, and welcome any questions you have.
DGA/SAG-AFTRA/IATSE

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Hmmm…Just don’t water down our rights or we’re all sunk!

Arl

The Ol’ SAG Watchdog

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