Petition Closed
Petitioning Copyright Alliance

Help pass the Stop Online Piracy Act & Protect IP Act

The LGBT creative community and our allies support the passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R.3261) and Protect IP Act (S.968). These bills will prevent online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property as well as promoting prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property. Foreign rogue websites that sell LGBT films without the filmmakers’ authorization threaten the vibrancy of the legitimate LGBT film marketplace. Taking indie LGBT filmmakers out of the market or impeding their ability to make future films limits the options of LGBT consumers, limits the diversity of stories and voices in the marketplace, and has a detrimental impact on the understanding of social issues affecting the LGBT community. Online piracy threatens not only the livelihoods of filmmakers in the LGBT community but may also silence the voices of this community.

Letter to
Copyright Alliance
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Copyright Alliance.

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Please help pass the Stop Online Piracy Act & Protect IP Act

The LGBT creative community and our allies support the passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R.3261) and Protect IP Act (S.968). These bills will prevent online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property as well as promoting prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property. We, as members and allies of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) film community, which includes LGBT filmmakers, vendors, and customers, support legislation currently being considered by the Senate and the House – the Protect IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act, respectively – that would give Federal law enforcement the tools they need to help stop foreign rogue websites that are currently providing a real threat to the LBGT filmmaking community in this country.

LGBT film makers and other LGBT artists are critical to the health and vibrancy of the LGBT community in the United States and throughout the world. Indie films are one of the best sources of realistic and positive portrayals of LGBT characters.

Foreign rogue websites that sell LBGT films without the filmmakers’ authorization threaten the vibrancy of the legitimate LBGT film marketplace. Taking indie LGBT filmmakers out of the market or impeding their ability to make future films limits the options of LGBT consumers, limits the diversity of stories and voices in the marketplace, and has a detrimental impact on the understanding of social issues affecting the LGBT community. Online piracy threatens not only the livelihoods of filmmakers in the LGBT community but may also silence the voices of this community.

LGBT filmmakers, like other independent filmmakers, are particularly hard hit by piracy because they routinely self-finance projects or secure financing and distribution for projects by licensing distribution of a project on a territorial and platform by platform basis to commercial distributors. (e.g., to film and video distributors, broadcasters, online platforms, etc.). When piracy erodes the value of the territorial markets or distribution platforms to which a work may be licensed, the minimum guarantees to which a distributor of LBGT films is prepared to commit for a new film drop accordingly.

In many instances LGBT films, like other independent films, have only festival showings, and no theatrical release window. Such films have to rely entirely on DVD sales and legal online, PPV or VOD distribution for a return on their investment. For the filmmaker, a drop in the minimum guarantee translates into loss of production funding and may kill the project completely due to the inability of the filmmaker to secure financing. Whereas a major movie studio might be able to survive despite lost revenues from extensive pirating of one of its films, LGBT filmmakers often rely on the revenue generated from a single film they will release that year. If a filmmaker’s single project is pirated, that filmmaker’s financial security is largely compromised.

Most LGBT filmmakers, who do not have significant legal resources, also have a hard time stopping rogue sites from stealing our work. In many cases offshore site operators and the entities that finance them refuse to respond to our complaints of piracy U.S. rights.

The rogue sites legislation in the Senate and the House provides U.S. rights holders a process to work within the jurisdiction of U.S. courts to seek injunctive relief against these unresponsive sites, and means to cut off funding to such sites from legitimate sources. The bills include strong due process protections to ensure only sites dedicated to infringement are affected, and that the evaluation of whether a site is dedicated to piracy is made by a Federal Court whenever there is any dispute. This legislation likewise provides the U.S. Attorney General additional tools to more effectively combat rogue websites. This is huge for “niche” film industries that will benefit from better enforcement of U.S. laws by law enforcement.

The LBGT community supports the Protect IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act. We urge prompt passage of the legislation.

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Sincerely,