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Business News (more headlines) 12-05-2010

Entertainment Industry Applauds U.S.-Korea FTA Announcement

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A broad coalition of entertainment industry workers, creators, producers, and trade associations known collectively as the Entertainment Industry Coalition (EIC) praised the Administrations of President Obama and President Lee for reaching agreement on outstanding issues between the two countries which will hopefully lead the way for swift ratification of the U.S. Free Trade Agreement with the Republic of Korea.

Elizabeth Frazee, Executive Director of the EIC said, "Today's announcement paves the way for passage of the U.S.-Korea FTA. This groundbreaking agreement will advance the interests of the U.S. entertainment industry, a source of well-paying U.S. jobs and the foundation of the U.S. creative economy. We will work hard as a coalition to educate the U.S. Congress about the benefits of the agreement and urge its rapid consideration in Congress."

"Considering the vital role international markets play in the success of the American entertainment industry, we strongly support efforts to break down market access barriers and curtail content theft that hinders our industry's growth abroad," said Greg Frazier, MPAA Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer. "We are very pleased that the outstanding issues that stood in the way of ratification of this agreement have been resolved."

Neil Turkewitz, RIAA Executive Vice President, International remarked, "The Korea FTA provides specific references to the need to prosecute not only direct infringers, but also those who 'profit from developing and maintaining services that effectively induce infringement.' Korea also undertook to provide legal incentives for service providers to cooperate with right holders in deterring piracy. In doing so, Korea has taken a significant step toward a more effective system for combating the high levels of online copyright infringement that currently prevail, and we strongly endorse this agreement."

The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement contains provisions that are essential to the prosperity of the American creative industries operating in the globalized, digital era.

"The Independent Film & Television Alliance strongly supports this Agreement with the Republic of Korea, an important marketplace for independent producers and distributors, and we were pleased that Presidents Obama and Lee have pledged to move forward," said Susan Cleary, IFTA's Vice President & General Counsel.

"Thanks to the cooperation between our respective governments, this FTA will promote greater marketplace access opportunities and ensure vitally important content protection safeguards for all producers and distributors."

"The Korea FTA reflects the deepest consideration of online commerce and intellectual property issues between the parties to date," said Stevan Mitchell, Vice President of Intellectual Property Policy for the Entertainment Software Association. "These provisions are of long-term and growing significance, and include duty-free treatment of digital downloads and nondiscriminatory treatment of entertainment software products."

Specifically, the agreement pledges to extend the protection of intellectual property to the digital economy by ensuring copyright holders have the exclusive right to make their works available online, and by prohibiting the circumvention of technology that protects copyrighted work from unauthorized access and copying. It also addresses online piracy, strengthens copyright enforcement by criminalizing end-user copyright theft, outlaws the use of camcorders in cinemas, and provides the necessary authority to seize and destroy counterfeit goods and the equipment used to produce them, including goods-in-transit, which will dissuade counterfeiters in neighboring countries from using Korea as a conduit for conducting their illicit trade.

The agreement also pledges to expand access to the Korean market for American goods and services by enhancing opportunities for American companies to offer legitimate content to Korean consumers; relaxing Korea's content quotas, which will increase the U.S. motion picture and television industries' ability to compete; improving opportunities for foreign-owned broadcasters; and committing to zero tariffs on most entertainment product imports. Furthermore, it ensures nondiscriminatory access to Korea's online market of over 15 million broadband subscribers.

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