Richard N. Gladstein, the executive director of Brooklyn College’s Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema, is no stranger to the power of cinematic storytelling. For more than 30 years, he worked in the filmmaking industry, producing Academy Award–nominated films including The Cider House Rules, Finding Neverland, Pulp Fiction, and The Bourne Identity.

So, when addressing digital copyright piracy in the entertainment industry, Gladstein has had a front-row seat to its debilitating effects.

On Dec. 13, Gladstein brought his expertise to Washington, D.C., and testified before Congress regarding Internet piracy. Speaking before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, the hearing, “Digital Copyright Piracy: Protecting American Consumers, Workers, and Creators,” examined digital copyright piracy today, with an emphasis on solutions for online piracy of audiovisual works such as movies, television, live sports, and entertainment on illegal download and streaming sites.

Gladstein explained how piracy affects the crews, as well as the communities where films are made, all across the country.

“What you may not know is that each film contributes on average $250,000 to the local economy each day it shoots. Smaller-budget films may shoot for 24 days, and larger-budgeted films shoot more than 70 days,” Gladstein said. “In the U.S., the film and television industry employs 2.4 million Americans. Those numbers bear out what I have always known in my heart to be true—that creativity is not just an important part of American life, it is the backbone of our nation’s cultural and economic strength, both here and around the world.”

Gladstein explained that despite these numbers, as well as the fact that the Internet has helped grow audiences, these industries have been besieged by widespread digital piracy from the inception of the Internet, and there has been little recourse or consequences.

Pointing to a recent study, Gladstein said that as many as 30 million consumers across nine million American homes use illegal streaming services, often without even realizing it. Another report found digital video piracy causes domestic losses of at least $29 billion and as much as $71 billion every year, resulting in losses between $47 billion and $115 billion to the gross domestic product. The same study found that this costs the U.S. economy between 230,000 and 560,000 jobs each year—the majority of which are taken from the workers behind the cameras who put in long hours each day.

While there are laws in place around the world that have proven to be effective tools against this kind of piracy, Gladstein pointed to the fact they are not yet available to copyright owners in the United States, and he urged the committee to implement similar measures.

“One such tool, broadly available in developed countries around the world, allows courts to issue no-fault injunctive relief, or ‘site blocking,’ orders, directing Internet service providers after a full judicial process to block local access to offshore websites that are found to be dedicated to piracy,” Gladstein testified. “This tool has proven to be an effective remedy against piracy in the more than 40 countries that have implemented it, including Western democracies like Canada, the UK, and most of the countries in the EU.”

When speaking as the executive director of the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema, Gladstein added it is critical to protect the cinematic storytellers of the future.

“These stolen revenues affect the number of films made every year,” Gladstein said. “We want our students and graduates to have the most opportunities available to them as possible, so Internet piracy is something that needs to be taken seriously to ensure their future success.”

Gladstein testified along with Karyn Temple, senior executive vice president and global general counsel, Motion Picture Association, and former register of copyrights and director, U.S. Copyright Office; Matthew Schruers, president, Computer & Communications Industry Association, and co-founder and board chair, Digital Trust & Safety Partnership; and Riché McKnight, executive vice president and general counsel, Ultimate Fighting Championship, and deputy general counsel, and co-head of litigation, Endeavor.

Gladstein’s full testimony is available on YouTube at the 29:00 mark.