New Operation Sees Early Results
IP thieves have a new foe, and its name is “Operation in Our Sites .” The initiative announced yesterday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seeks to further crackdown on copyright infringement, especially websites that distribute recently released movies.
Although it’s still young, the initiative has been successful so far. According to Variety Magazine, the “Initiative…has already seized the domain names of nine websites. They include Movieslinks.tv, Planetmoviez.com, ZML.com, Thepiratecity.org, Filespump.com, TVShack.net, Now-Movies.com, NinjaVideo.net and NinjaThis.net.” These sites were notorious for pirating.
The initiative comes on the heels of the new Joint Strategic Plan on IP Enforcement. The plan promised to “ensure the broad participation of Federal Agencies responsible for criminal intellectual property infringement investigations in cooperative efforts.” ICE, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, and Homeland Security all worked together on this specific case; giving hope to property rights advocates that the Obama administration is following through on implementing its IP policies.
Out of all of the intellectual property based industries, the entertainment business is especially vulnerable to piracy because of improved technology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the motion picture and music recording industries—which employ over 354,000 people—have seen mass layoff events rise consistently over the past three months. Furthermore, the unemployment rate in the industries rose from 14.5% in February, to 17.5% in May. Harsher crackdowns on illegal distributions will save hundreds of millions in lost revenue and thousands of jobs a year.
What’s especially heartening is the fact that the initiative included help from other countries as well. The Netherlands and 11 other states assisted in the case. It’s in everyone’s best interest to fight IP theft (except maybe criminals). Defending IP rights promotes peace and cooperation and this case is a clear example. If this record keeps up, I guarantee trade and foreign investment will skyrocket, because foreign companies will know that innovation and creativity are not only respected, but protected as well.