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Unions Tell PIPA Backers to Keep the Faith

TV and film unions sent a letter of support to Democratic
New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer Wednesday praising
their support of the PROTECT IP antipiracy bill and asking them to keep the

"We know the pressure that you are getting to renege on your
commitment," they wrote. "We are the voice of thousands of
individuals who thank you for standing steadfast against this barrage and in
support of the jobs of our members," they wrote. "They"
constituted the American Federation of Musicians, American Federation of
Television and Radio Artists, Directors Guild of America, the International
Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and
Allied Crafts of the United States,
its Territories and Canada (IATSE), the Teamsters, and the Screen Actors Guild.

The unions argue the bill "does nothing more than make it possible for the
U.S. government
to handle illegal foreign websites in the same manner it can already do -- and
has been doing -- with illegal U.S.

Reporters were barraged Wednesday with comments and updates from both sides of
the debate over antipiracy legislation as thousands of Web sites reportedly
shuttered to protest the bills.

The bills give the Justice Department and content owners more weapons in their
fight against online and other forms of IP piracy, but critics, including
Google, Mozilla, Craigslist, Wikipedia and many others, say that weapon is a
blunderbuss aimed that the openness of the Internet and due process rights.

PROTECT IP is due for floor consideration Jan. 24, while SOAP
is on a slower track.