SAG, AFTRA Speak Out on Piracy

The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists have stepped out again in favor of strict federal action against content piracy.

The performers' unions, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the Directors Guild of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, and nine other entertainment-industry organizations sent a letter to members of Congress on Wednesday to express "strong support of the efforts of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to combat digital theft and counterfeiting for a range of U.S. industries."

In November, ICE seized the domain names of 82 online retailers alleged to have dealt in copyright-violating merchandise ranging from sportswear to DVDs—a move that drew praise from the unions at the time. Civil liberties groups have criticized ICE's targeting of the sites, characterizing the agency's actions as censorship.

"Digital theft threatens the jobs of all who work in our business," the industry groups wrote in Wednesday's letter. "Such theft destroys the ability of those who finance and produce filmed entertainment to recoup their investment, and in turn, the ability of film artists to continue to create."