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June 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a new anti-piracy strategy covering everything from counterfeit drugs to bootleg DVDs. “To state it very bluntly, piracy hurts,” Biden said. “It hurts our economy, our health and our safety.” The new plan calls for the creation of a coordinated program involving numerous federal agencies including the Commerce Department, the Library of Congress and the FBI. In a massive report presented by “piracy czar” Victoria Espinel, many of the motion picture industry’s claims about piracy losses were reiterated. Video piracy, it said, costs the industry — and therefore the U.S. economy as a whole — $20.5 billion annually and results in $5.5 billion in lost wages and 141,030 in lost jobs. (Only last week witnesses at a hearing of the U.S. International Trade Commission took issue with those claims, suggesting that the numbers were highly inflated. “Be careful about using information the multinational [media companies] provide you. I would imagine they have an incentive to make the losses seem very, very large,” Harvard Business School professor C. Fritz Foley told the commission.) Studio executives praised the administration’s announced strategy and promised to work with officials to end piracy. And in a statement, MPAA President Bob Pisano said: “This plan is an important step forward in combating intellectual property theft and protecting the millions of jobs and businesses that rely so heavily on copyrights, patents and trademarks and help drive the American economy.”