The United States will go after foreign websites that pirate American music and movies as part of a new strategy to stop sales of counterfeit and pirated goods at home and abroad, Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday. “This is theft, clear and simple,” Biden said at a meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and other Cabinet officials. “It's smash and grab, no different than a guy walking down Fifth Avenue and smashing the window at Tiffany's and reaching in and grabbing what's in the window,” Biden said, referring to the jewellery store in New York City. U.S. businesses estimate they lose billions of dollars each year to piracy and counterfeiting of items including films, music and consumer goods.

They also blame the illegal trade for hundreds of thousands of lost U.S. jobs. “It is especially critical that the United States has an effective framework for protecting creative content online and enforcing intellectual property rights in the digital environment,” said Bob Pisano, interim chief executive officer at the Motion Picture Association of America. U.S. computer and video game makers also cheered the promise of tougher enforcement.

The National Association of Manufacturers urged the administration to focus especially on China, which it has called “ground zero” for piracy and counterfeiting. The U.S. Trade Representative's office has battled for years to close websites in Russia, China and other countries that sell pirated American music and films.

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