RIAA and MPAA join federal agencies against counterfeiting of movies

MUMBAI: Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) CEO Dan Glickman and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) CEO Mitch Bainwol today joined U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) assistant secretary John Morton, assistant attorney General Lanny Breuer and other federal officials from the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center to announce the recent results from a nationwide federal law enforcement crackdown on counterfeit products.

The enforcement action, codenamed Operation Holiday Hoax, focused on illegal vendors throughout several major U.S. cities and netted five arrests and 79,796 counterfeit CDs and 79,610 DVDs. The operation was hosted by the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, an ICEmanaged task force serving as the federal government’s central point of contact in the fight against counterfeiters and trademark violators. The IPR Center is comprised of officials from various federal agencies such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Departments of Justice and Commerce, Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Industry officials offered tips to help holiday shoppers avoid illegal goods and get the real thing. The tips that were offered were: remember the adage: you get what you pay for, watch for titles that are too new to be true, watch for compilations that are too good to be true, read the label, look for suspicious packaging, watch for product being sold in unusual places.

"Working together with ICE and the IPR Center, key federal law enforcement agencies and the entertainment industry have struck a real blow to the illegal trafficking of pirated and counterfeit goods during the important holiday season," said RIAA CEO Mitch Bainwol. "It’s unfortunately an often lucrative business that is the breeding ground for other dangerous criminal activity and it undermines our ability to invest in the new bands of tomorrow. It also takes money directly out of the pocket of working musicians, songwriters and many others who work countless hours to create great music and bring it to the public. We’re grateful for the hard work and dedication of ICE agents we worked closely with on this important initiative."

"More than 2.4 million American jobs are supported by the movie and television industry alone. Each of the pirated DVDs shown here today – represents a theft, not just from the motion picture studios, but from the hard earned wages of these men and women working in all 50 states of our union. In these difficult economic times, that is a price our workers, our industry, and indeed, our nation cannot afford. So we applaud the law enforcement agencies here today for their commitment and dedication to our common struggle," said Motion Picture Association of America chairman and CEO Dan Glickman.

According to a report by the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI), counterfeiting and copyright theft cost the U.S. copyright industries – including the motion picture and sound recording industries – more than $25 billion a year. This translates into nearly 375,000 lost jobs and more than $16 billion in lost annual earnings for American workers.

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