Today, Google is celebrating the 79th anniversary of the opening of the first drive-in movie theater with a beautiful animated Doodle that pays homage to the joy of watching larger-than-life art on the big screen. It's a terrific tribute to the creators and makers whose hard work and creativity goes into making that experience possible, and it will remind the literally billions of people around the world who see it today what they enjoy most about going to the movies. Frankly, I love it.
But, protecting the creative work of the collaborative men and women who work in the film and television industry from theft takes more than just a gorgeous piece of animation. It requires a substantive commitment from tech companies like Google to join with the people who make the content to develop a meaningful solution that curbs the theft of American creativity, to help ensure that the next 79 years of moviemaking are just as creative as the last. It's a tough challenge, no doubt -- but it's an incredibly important and urgent issue to tackle. We need to get it right.
Every day that we aren't working toward a shared solution with the tech industry is another day that the hard work and ingenuity of the people who work in the American film and television community is being ripped off by foreign criminals around the world. It's another day that American ideas aren't being protected. It's another day that an industry that supports the jobs of 2.2 million Americans -- set decorators, electricians, costume designers and recording engineers -- is being undermined by foreign theft.
Recently, my friend Ari Emanuel called on Google and other leaders in Silicon Valley to come to the table to work on a meaningful solution. Today, Time Magazine business and technology reporter Sam Gustin suggested that "tech giants should take him up on his offer."
It's discouraging to hear Google executives say they "have done as much as they possibly can" when in fact the theft of American products around the world is rampant -- and often facilitated by their search engine. Now is not the time to bury our heads in the sand, but instead to put them together to come up with a smart solution to a problem that is hurting not only the film and television community, but industries across the American economy that are seeing their products stolen, counterfeited and sold. A USA Today column just today highlights the ever-increasing threats posed to American consumers by counterfeit pharmaceuticals, cosmetics -- and yes, technology.
As Ari Emanuel's beloved on-screen alter-ego Ari Gold -- brought to life in the TV show Entourage by exactly the hard-working Americans we aim to protect -- would say in just slightly fewer words: let's hug it out. It is long past time to develop a meaningful, collaborative solution to a problem that protects American workers and consumers while also protecting a secure Internet.
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