Over at the Cannes Film Festival, MPAA boss Chris Dodd apparently told Variety
that the MPAA is "on the wrong track"
when it calls infringement "theft."
"We're in a transformative period with an explosion of technology that's going to need content... We're going to have to be more subtle and consumer-oriented.... We're on the wrong track if we describe this as thievery."
Now, I thought that was kind of interesting, because it appears that the folks who work for Dodd haven't received the memo. The MPAA website is chock full of his minions calling it "theft" every chance they get. There's an entire page supposedly dedicated to "types of content theft."
There's a page on "rogue websites,"
that calls them "havens for theft." There's a link in the footer to a website called FightFilmTheft.org
. There's also a link in the footer to the ICE website (you know, the government agency illegally seizing and censoring websites based on no evidence) saying to click the logo "to report IP theft." Then there's the MPAA's "blog,"
which as of this writing has the word "theft" on the front page a mere fifteen
times (and "steal" or "stealing" another three times). So, er, Dodd might want to have a chat with his staffers.
Because, according to Chris Dodd, the MPAA is on the wrong track
And, for once, I think we actually agree with Chris Dodd. Of course, some of us have been saying this since Dodd's first speech
on the job -- which (of course) focused on saying how infringement was "no different" than theft.
There's also some history here. For a while, the industry focused on the word "piracy" to describe infringement. But about three years ago, a movie studio exec made the claim that the industry had "made a mistake" using the word "piracy," because it "glamorized" the practice (of course, Hollywood helped out with the glamorization thanks to some big blockbuster movies starring Johnny Depp...). Practically overnight, the use of "piracy" changed in the industry to "content theft." So, perhaps this is the start of a new phase...
Either way, it certainly doesn't seem like Dodd has really figured out just how disastrous things are going under his "leadership." Much of the story still has him blaming tech companies for stopping SOPA and PIPA. Until he realizes that it was the public the spoke up (and actually helped drag along those tech companies), he's never going to understand what happened, and never going to be able to lead appropriately. Hell, you can even see his dangerous framing in the short statement above. Notice he said they need to be more "subtle." He hasn't realized that their entire policy focus is wrong. He just thinks they're being too brazen about it.
We've asked Dodd (repeatedly, now) to actually come out and talk
to the public. I'm sure the folks at Reddit would be happy to set up an AMA. We'd be happy to have him come and chat with our community as well. Yet, he refuses to do so. Instead, he continues to only lobby behind the scenes and blame the wrong parties in public. Things are never going to improve if he keeps on that path. He doesn't need to be "more subtle." He needs to actually understand what that public tried to tell him back in January. Instead, he seems to be sticking his fingers in his ears and taking random guesses.