The Directors Guild of America issued a statement on Friday about SOPA and PIPA – in conjunction with the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), and Screen Actors Guild (SAG).
First this collective of Hollywood interest groups attempted to put a happy face on a bad situation:
“We thank and commend Senators Reid, Leahy and Kyl as well as Congressmen Smith, Conyers, Goodlatte, Watt and Berman and all the other co-sponsors of the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act, who in the face of an onslaught of mistruths and great pressure to renege on their commitment, stood steadfast in their belief that the uniquely American creativity embodied in our country’s films, TV programs and music deserves to be protected from illegal foreign profiteers. We fought for this legislation because illegal Internet businesses that locate offshore expressly to elude US laws should not escape the very same rules of law that currently apply to illegal US websites – they should not be allowed to reap in profits if they knowingly sell or distribute illicitly gained content and goods which they had no role in creating or financing to the American consumer. "
The statement goes on to say that these groups are an important part of a debate related to creativity, the American economy, free expression and a civil society. They also say that – despite trying to get both these bills fast-tracked through the congress – that they want all stakeholders to have a say in crafting future legislation:
“We welcome this debate. We hope a new tone can be set and it is not one that turns our advocacy for this legislation into an implication that we promote censorship. Our commitment to the First Amendment is decades old and long established – it is a matter of public record from long before the word ‘Internet’ was part of anyone’s vocabulary. If one truly embraces free expression, they do not take down the Library of Congress websites, the very symbol of our country’s belief in knowledge and learning. We would hope a new tone can be set that does not pit the creativity and innovation of our directors, actors, performers, craftspeople, and technicians against those innovators in other industries. We hope a new tone can be set that does not include website attacks, blacklists, blackouts, and lies. We believe an Internet that does not allow outright stealing has to be the Internet of the future or all the promises it holds will be unrealized."
They close by saying that they are committed to an open debate and that they will continue to work with (and no doubt give money to) Chairmen Leahy and Smith to create fair legislation.
There's no nice way of saying that Leahy and Smith tried to ram these bills through the process in hopes of getting a vote on these bills. If not for the efforts of a few senators and congress members SOPA and PIPA would be the law of the land and would have been signed into law by the president.
Image Credit: dga.org