Ahead of a House Judiciary Committee meeting Wednesday that will look at how to combat online IP theft, members of both the House and Senate talked today about the continuing harm the practice causes the U.S. economy. The reaffirmation was welcome news to Hollywood’s unions and guilds, who have long urged Washington to make tougher laws.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who chairs the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet, and Congressman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) were joined on Capitol Hill by representatives from business and labor organizations for the media gathering. Said Conyers: “The Internet has regrettably become a cash-cow for the criminals and organized crime cartels who profit from digital piracy and counterfeit products. Millions of American jobs are at stake because of these crimes, which is why my colleagues and I will be coming together to carefully craft legislation.”

In response, a joint statement from AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE and SAG stated: “We would like to sincerely thank [Leahy, Smith, John Conyers, Goodlatte and Berman] for their longstanding belief in the value of creative content, their commitment to protecting American jobs and their support of real and effective enforcement measures to fight Internet theft.”

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