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Seidler: Congress Needs to Pass Leahy-Hatch Anti-Piracy Bill

Opponents of anti-piracy legislation direct additional scorn toward the Hollywood studios, long at the forefront of anti-piracy efforts. How is it, piracy advocates argue, that the public should feel sorry for companies that generate millions of dollars in profit? While the studios may provide piracy advocates with a convenient foil, it’s a shortsighted and ultimately disingenuous argument.

Think for a moment about who actually makes the movies you enjoy. Whether independent or studio produced, every film is the product of an intense and creative collaboration involving dozens, if not hundreds, of people. Next time you watch a movie, stick around as the credits roll — it takes a village to make a film.

Those who toil behind the scenes are some of piracy’s biggest losers: the makeup artists, set designers, electricians, writers, production assistants, animators, prop masters, caters and so on. These craftspeople depend on a healthy film production industry to support themselves and their families. Aren’t these jobs worth saving?

It’s clear that business models for film distribution will continue to evolve over the next few years and that creators across the spectrum will have to adapt. What’s equally clear is that the time has also come for our laws to adapt to this new reality.

Hopefully, those of us on opposite sides of the piracy debate can take a cue from Leahy and Hatch and find a way to cross the aisle to reach a consensus. The time has come for all of us who care about creative content to work together to find solutions that can ultimately benefit everyone — content creators and consumers alike.

Ellen Seidler is an independent filmmaker and director of “And Then Came Lola.”

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