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Entertainment Industry Coalition For Free Trade Hails U.S. - Australia Free Trade Agreement

The Entertainment Industry Coalition for Free Trade
Press Release


Washington, D.C., February 11, 2004 - The Entertainment Industry Coalition for Free Trade (EIC), a group of leading entertainment companies, trade associations and entertainment unions and guilds, today applauded the conclusion of the U.S. - Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The EIC represents the interests of those who create, produce, distribute and exhibit many forms of creative expression, including filmed entertainment, recorded music, and entertainment software. The members include multi-channel programmers and cinema owners, producers and distributors, guilds and unions, trade associations and individual companies.

The Entertainment Industry Coalition understands that the Australia Free Trade Agreement sets the highest standards of copyright protection for the modern digital age, which is critically important to EIC members. In addition, it includes strong commitments to enforce copyright measures.

“The US-Australia FTA is first-rate for which we thank Ambassador Robert Zoellick. It provides full protection for American films and TV programs. The Agreement has all the elements necessary to protect content in the digital age, from the protection of content online to strong enforcement provisions,” said Jack Valenti, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association (MPA). “The Agreement will benefit the hard working men and women in the entertainment industry by ensuring continued access to the Australian market now and into the future. The entertainment industry and the intellectual property it creates are major contributors to the U.S. economy. This agreement will help grow our industry and further boost the economic growth of our nation.”

“We applaud U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and Australian Minister Vaile and their teams for negotiating a strong agreement. We are grateful for their zealous efforts to protect America’s intellectual property,” said Robert M. Kimmitt, Executive Vice President, Global Public Policy, Time Warner Inc. “This agreement provides a model for intellectual property protection and enforcement that should be embraced worldwide and clearly demonstrates that promoting both cultural expression and open trade can be achieved in a trade agreement.”

Mitch Bainwol, Chairman and CEO, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) agreed saying, “this new trade agreement is another important milestone in the efforts of Representative Zoellick and his team at USTR to improve protection of the intellectual property rights of composers, performers and sound recording producers. We thank the trade representative’s dedicated negotiators for what they have achieved in this agreement. They have worked tirelessly and with great skill to enhance our country’s ability to fuel creativity and promote our economic competitiveness.”

“AFMA is pleased to join EIC in applauding Robert Zoellick and USTR for ensuring that strong intellectual property provisions are included in the Australian Free Trade Agreement," said Jean Prewitt, President and CEO of AFMA. "Implementation and enforcement of such protections help to grow our industry and further strengthen an important market for independent films."

"This agreement is an important and promising one for the entertainment software industry, particularly given the position of Australia as a major market, said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). “We understand that the agreement establishes a firm foundation for the emergence of new generations of entertainment software product and new forms of digital content delivery. We are grateful for Ambassador Zoellick and Minister Vaile’s perseverance and vision, and are most appreciative of the hard work done by negotiators to arrive at an agreement solid enough and comprehensive enough to serve as a model for other nations."

The Entertainment Industry Coalition for Free Trade includes the following: AFMA; BMG Music; Directors Guild of America; EMI Recorded Music; Entertainment Software Association; The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada, AFL-CIO, CLC (IATSE); Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.; Motion Picture Association of America; National Association of Theatre Owners; New Line Cinema; the News Corporation Limited; Paramount Pictures; Producers Guild of America; Recording Industry Association of America; Sony Music Entertainment Inc.; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Television Association of Programmers (TAP) Latin America; Time Warner Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal Music Group; Viacom; Universal Studios; the Walt Disney Company; Warner Bros.; Warner Music Group; and The Writers Guild of America, west (WGAw).

 source: Entertainment Industry Coalition for Free Trade