EIC President on digital piracy

Statement of Brian Dyak, President and CEO of Entertainment Industries Council, Inc.

Capitol Hill Briefing, February 17, 2005
Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. – Mission Statement
In 1983, the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. (EIC) was founded by leaders in the entertainment industry to bring the power and influence of the entertainment industry to bear on health and social issues.
Operating Principles:

  1. The entertainment industry is one small piece of the societal puzzle of health and social issues.
  2. We recognize that members of the entertainment industry make a variety of positive contributions toward promoting the awareness of health and social issues.
  3. We utilize a nonjudgmental process, respecting creative integrity.

Welcome, I would like to thank Lifetime Television for providing the breakfast this morning. Unfortunately they could not join us this morning but will be working with us in the future.

As we are all aware the entertainment industry is a large industry generally perceived as glitz, glamor, and an influence on the popular culture. We are also all aware of how new technologies continue to shape our new world of information and distribution or transmission of product and the significant exploitation of content. These new digital technologies have been a blessing in many ways – especially making a world of information simply a keystroke or mouse click away. A world of crystal clear television, and in the future enhanced 3-D movies, saves us time and are providing enjoyment and fueling our economy.

However, I would be remiss today to not help drive home an understanding of piracy and digital content theft (the stealing of copyright materials) as it relates beyond the economy of the studios and TV networks. Granted in the long run there is money, an economy to gain within the corporate world of the digital age, the digital revolution not unlike the industrial revolution at the turn of the century does bring new opportunity. But this realization is still in a pioneering and exploratory phase. The process and systems are not in place to fully protect our industry.

Unfortunately, people whose livelihoods are dependent on original artistic creations and making these ideas into entertainment product are at risk. Intellectual property theft is becoming a social issue affecting a specific community!

Last year, former Attorney General, John Ashcroft made a statement to a group of Hollywood executives that his hometown of Saint Louis used to be the shoe capital of the world…they no longer make shoes in Saint Louis. However China has a thriving shoe industry. He stated he understood the ramifications of piracy.

I ask you today to allow yourself to take another look at the entertainment industry through the eyes of those of us involved in aspects of the industry that clearly gives back to our audiences. I ask you to recognize that our industry is a community comprised of creative people, writers, producers, directors, actors and people whose skills allow the creative works to come to life. We are a community of set designers, hair stylists, make-up artists, electricians, plumbers, security personnel, carpenters, cooks, wait staff, grips, boom mike operators, costume designers, tailors, seamstresses, CGI technicians, book keepers and accountants, publicists, lawyers, clerical support personnel, we are a community who love to tell stories, make documentaries, share drama, and comedy, we are a community who love to entertain , whose heart is in the same place as the people in the community where you live. And the people in our community have the same concerns, providing for their families, job security, trials and tribulations of parenting, and the education of their children, and care for their elderly.

The stealing of intellectual property, in this age of technology, is not a freedom; it is a crime that harms hundreds of thousands of people directly or indirectly and other businesses too. The economic trauma that piracy causes is insidious, we do not want to wake up one day and find ourselves in the midst of a plague caused by illegal behavior. Enough said, bottom line… no one deserves to have their life stolen from them… their livelihood jeopardized.

Our community has two primary needs as we move forward in the new century. We need agreement and support to stop piracy and protect content from theft in the digital age. We need active measures to protect the freedoms that are not only a source of revenue for this country, but also a source of creativity and pride worldwide.

With us today are representatives of the Caucus for Television Producers, Writers and Directors, Entertainment Software Association, and Motion Picture Association of America.

Our second need is to work cooperatively with Congress and federal agencies to recognize that creative freedom is a cornerstone of our nation and that our industry is one more piece of a societal puzzle that can help bring valuable information to the public. This is where the Entertainment Industries Council has an important role.

Today you are going to learn how creators of entertainment product are provided with credible and expert information and strategic guidance on critical health and social issues, and learn about the good work that take place. For too long that work has been our industries best-kept secret. Each of the networks and their parent companies have been actively involved with the art of making a difference. Today you will hear a sampling of work underway at NBC-Universal, our work with News Corporation and FX, Networks, specific projects at Viacom and their brands, and specific work undertaken at Disney. There will be more to share with you throughout the year about how other companies in out industry give back… the EIC plans to keep you regularly updated about the “art of making a difference.”

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