Concern about movie piracy is shifting from black-market DVD copies made overseas to Internet users at home, and unions representing thousands of studio workers are pushing federal regulators to take a stronger stand.
Last week, attorneys for the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees and four other unions asked federal regulators to stop "the epidemic that is the online theft of copyrighted works."
The legal brief sent to the Federal Communications Commission came on the final day of public comment in the agency's effort to set boundaries for regulating the Internet.
"Companies engaged in the production and distribution of audiovisual works and sound recordings employ hundreds of thousands of people, with many and scores of communities relying on large-scale film and television productions for their income," union officials stated in their letter to the commission. "However, the jobs of the guilds and unions' members …are put at serious risk by online entities that are facilitating the theft of intellectual property."