MPAA Head Chris Dodd: I'm Willing To Discuss Copyright Reform As Long As Nothing Changes
from the your-input-will-be-ignored-in-the-order-it-is-received dept
Chris Dodd, head of the MPAA, has decided that, 16 years after the Napsterpocalypse (which singlehandedly killed the recording and motion picture industries, both of which are now nothing but vague memories for pre-Gen Xers), it’s time to meet the tech industry in the middle and start working together.
But, as is Dodd’s way, “in the middle” means drawing a line inches away from the MPAA’s position and “working together” means making heavy concessions to the incumbent industries. Here’s what the Grand Dame of the movie business had to say while attending a celebration of US-Germany film collaborations.
“New technology has made the international exchange of cultural and entertainment content faster, easier and increasingly, a two-way street,” he said. “Technology and content need to live with each other. … Technology needs content, and content needs technology.”
So far, so good, even if it is a rather obvious statement. And so far, this preamble echoes the recent words of Jean Michel Jarre, who also began with an open-minded position when discussing the tech/content relationship, shortly before zipping it shut entirely and declaring copyright industries entitled to $300-400 of every smartphone sale.
Dodd says it’s a two-way street… then sets about hanging new one-way signs all over the place.
Addressing copyright rules, Dodd said he was “not frightened of reviewing or reforming copyright,” but said copyright rules shouldn’t be “eroded.”
Great. Dodd’s perfectly happy to discuss or reform copyright, just as long as nothing changes. Life +70 forever, then? Or more? The only thing that’s “eroded” over time is the public domain. The original copyright “rules” stated that these rights would be secured for a limited time. Life +70 years is limited in terms of the entire history and future of the world, but it’s certainly not “limited” in any logical sense of the word. Life +70 years is, on average, 110-130 years of copyright protection, which is more or less 50% of this country’s total length of existence.
So, let’s “review” copyright, but only if we’re looking to “strengthen” the rules (read: expand and extend). And let’s “reform” copyright, but only as long as nothing at all existing changes. Thanks for the invite, Chris, but this hardly looks like a promising discussion. All Dodd’s looking for is concessions from the tech industry — more permission forms and licensing fees and so on, until long after everyone has forgotten such tech blips as Facebook and Twitter and The Pirate Bay.
The only way the copyright industry (and I don’t mean creators, I mean the gatekeepers who have watched their cherished gates erode into nearly nothing) is going to keep up with the tech industry is to actually meet somewhere in the middle. And the industry needs to do a lot of catching up. We’re seeing industry figureheads finally recognize they can’t keep treating each new tech advance as the enemy, but it’s been a long, long time coming. They still seem to put 90% of their effort into enforcement, rather than innovation, and Dodd’s half-assed “halfway” gesture indicates the MPAA is unwilling to consider anything that doesn’t keep its extended-to-the-point-of-surreality copyright protection intact.