WASHINGTON, DC — On January 31st, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released the findings of its 2022 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy (the Notorious Markets List). The Notorious Markets List highlights online and physical markets that reportedly engage in or facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy.
Reflecting the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to a worker-centric trade policy, IATSE applauds Ambassador Katherine Tai and USTR for using the 2022 Notorious Markets List to examine the adverse impact of online piracy on U.S. workers.
As the Notorious Markets List makes clear, content theft is pervasive and it hurts working people:
“Online piracy negatively impacts the careers of workers who dedicate their time and resources to developing creative works including the films, television series, music, books, games, and software that enrich lives around the world on a daily basis. When the content these workers help produce is pirated, the potential loss of sales can mean less revenue is available for the wages, residuals, pensions, and health care benefits that workers depend on.”
“Furthermore, creative professionals’ future work opportunities depend on legitimate sales and licensing . . . When copyrighted content is stolen, investment returns diminish, and less money is available to employ creative professional workers for future projects.”
IATSE concurs with the report’s conclusion that, “Online piracy is not only highly detrimental to the U.S. economy as a whole, but it also has a strong impact on the everyday lives of individual workers. The structure of compensation in the entertainment industry, in which royalties and residuals are a significant portion of total pay and benefits, makes the impact of piracy on workers even more pernicious. As methods of online piracy continue to evolve, efforts to monitor and address digital content theft must do so as well, and effective enforcement action will require government and stakeholder coordination on how to best address this problem.”
Enforcing strong copyright laws to protect creative content has long been a priority of the IATSE Federal Issue Agenda. Fighting online piracy and enforcing copyright obligations are critical to IATSE members.
IATSE and our sibling unions in the arts, entertainment, and media industries responded to USTR’s request for public comments during the formulation of the Notorious Markets List. Our joint submission to the Federal Register by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO (DPE) was referenced throughout the report.
IATSE looks forward to continued collaboration with USTR and the Biden-Harris Administration as they pursue a worker-centric trade policy that provides the strong copyright protections that entertainment workers need to secure their livelihoods in today’s digital era.