When the Motion Picture Association of America appointed ex-U.S. senator Christopher Dodd as its new Chairman and CEO in March, it wasn’t a leap of logic to believe group members wanted the former statesman to leverage the knowledge and experience he gained during a 30+ year career to stand up against piracy. Dodd didn’t let them down; he addressed that very issue in his inaugural speech.
Now, three months later, Dodd has once again railed against copyright theft – this time to members of the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) in Amsterdam.
“Too many people think that movie theft is a victimless crime,” Dodd said. “But the real victims of movie theft are the camera assistants and construction workers, the electricians and the ticket-takers, the working men and women whose names don’t appear on the marquee, but whose livelihoods in countries throughout the world depend on this industry for their economic security.”
Sound familiar? It should. It’s a tact often employed by anti-piracy crusaders – one that doesn’t appear to be working. Claims that piracy sets off a domino effect that kills jobs and costs the industry astronomical sums are at best exaggerated and at worst misleading according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which stated last year that it’s likely impossible to “quantify the economy-wide impacts” of piracy.
Dodd seems open to new ideas, however.
“Our challenge is at once simultaneously educate, to innovate, and to discourage illegality,” he said. “We need a holistic approach that is balanced, one that respects individual rights and freedoms, and one that includes all the members of the film community.”
Last week, the MPA revealed it had collaborated with “digital wallet” site PayPal to shut down Blu-ray and DVD counterfeiters operating out of China. Not exactly “holistic,” but it got results.
A major hurdle for Dodd (and one MPAA members are likely expecting him to traverse) is to get Washington to take the organization’s complaints more seriously. The MPAA chief previously revealed that the movie industry at large was typically derided as being all “red carpets and tuxedos” by government officials – an ironic fact considering his previous occupation. So far this year, Washington seems to be addressing piracy with a renewed vigor on its own. (via MPAA)