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Inauspicious Start For Chris Dodd At MPAA; Starts Off With 'Infringement No Different Than Theft' Claim

from the they-pay-you-$1.5-million-to-lie dept

No surprise, really, but former Senator Chris "I won't become a lobbyist" Dodd has begun his new tenure as a lobbyist for the MPAA on an inauspicious note -- by falsely claiming that infringement is no different than "looting."
"You know if you walk down main street people would arrest you if you walk into a retail store and stole items," Dodd said. "It's called looting in some cases. That's exactly what is happening with intellectual property. It's being looted and that needs to stop."
So, it looks like more of the same from the MPAA: more focusing on the wrong problem. More blaming everyone else for their own failures to adapt. More playing the victim. And, for that, they're "only" paying Dodd $1.5 million, an increase from the $1.2 million they paid predecessor Dan Glickman. The entire MPAA budget is about $100 million per year, and they spend almost none of that money on actually helping the industry adapt, but throw tons of money away lobbying for laws that won't help (and that trample the rights of others). Can't we just skip ahead to the inevitable failures and try something different?

Filed Under: chris dodd, lobbying
Companies: mpaa

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  1. identicon
    dan e bloome, 28 May 2011 @ 11:00pm


    Hollywood hopes to pry open China movie quotas for fun and profit, but
    will Communists allow them in? NO!

    OPED for New York Times, NYC


    Former U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd, who is now director of the
    Motion Pictures Association of America, will fly to China this month for
    talks with Chinese officials there about increasing the number of
    Hollywood movies allowed to be shown inside the communist behometh.

    Dodd is seeking to elevate the associationís profile in Washington,
    and he has made opening doors in China one of his top priorities since
    assuming the job in March. While visiting the Shanghai International
    Film Festival this month fro a week in mid-June, Dodd hopes to
    schmooze with motion picture
    bureuacrats in China in an effort to build relations with film officials there.

    But will China open up its vast movie theater audiences to more
    Hollywood product that the current quotas allow, or as Time magazine
    recently put it in a candid headdline: "Can Hollywood Afford to Make
    Films China Doesnít Like?"

    The answers to both questions will be telling, and while Time didn't
    answer the question its headline posed, time will tell. Most likely,
    China will not open up to Hollywood any more than it has to, according
    to World Trade Organization regulations, and while Hollywood would
    love to crack the China market for its overseas releases -- in
    addition to its gold mines in Japan and
    Taiwan -- the people who run Hollywood's studios and distribution
    groups have little patience for comnunist dictators and censorship.
    Then again, money talks.

    At the moment, China allows only about 20 popular Western films into
    the communist country each year, but under a new set-up being
    discussed with Hollywood movers and shakers, Beijing would allow in as
    many 40 foreign films per year, according to sources in the film
    And if all goes as planned under this more generous plan, Beijing
    would agree to provide greater market access to Hollywood by allowing
    an additional company to distribute foreign films. Currently, the
    Chinese Communist Party-controlled China Film Group dominates the
    import of foreign movies into China.

    Dodd hopes to up the ante and bring some good news back to Los Angeles
    and Washington after he concludes his visit to Shanghai and Beijing.

    It's true that Chinaís growing influence is reaching Hollywood, and
    Dodd is aware of this. American producers and directors are now
    factoring in the China market when making movies,
    just as they did when they eyed the lucrative Japanese market earlier
    this century. But while Japan did not censor Western films and allowed
    anything to be shown there, as befits a
    democratic country, China has other issues with Hollywood and the
    West. Censorship and Western film quotas are still the rule inside
    China proper, although Hong Kong and Macao
    are still allowed some semblance of freedom when it comes to screening
    Hollywood and European flicks.

    China is another story. However, since the film market in China is so
    huge, some changes might be in store, some good and some bad,
    according to sources in the film industry.

    China is now the fifth largest market for Hollywood films, and
    Hollywood producers would like to crack that market bigtime, and the
    sooner the better.
    So if China's movie handlers tell Hollywood not to export films that
    champion freedom or themes of the underdog or the little guy, studio
    executives just might go along.

    Look at the bottom line: Did you know that China was the second
    highest earnings market for james Cameron';s blocklbuster "Avatar",
    just behind the North American market
    and higher than Japan or Taiwan? Yes, according to Artisan Gateway, a
    Beijing entertainment-business consultant firm. Some Hollywood
    insiders are now saying that China's box office would overtake the
    U.S. market within the next tens years. That means that by 2020, China
    might be Hollywood's most important overseas market, and films might
    be tailor-made (read: self-censored) for viewers and motion picture
    propaganda chiefs in China. It won't be a pretty picture if that

    China does not have a film-rating system, and all movies -- both
    domestic and foreign -- must secure government approval from
    government censors before being shown commercially. Hollywood movies
    about Tibet or Tiananmen Square won't pass muster, of course.

    When Brad Pitt made the 1997 film ''Seven Years in Tibet,'' playing a
    character who crosses the border that separates India from Tibet and
    this making a Hollywood connection with the Dalai Lama, China's
    propaganda chiefs were not amused and they have banned Pitt from ever
    settting foot in China again. The Chinese mindcontrollers didn't like
    Hollywood's sympathetic portrait of the Dalai Lama, and they surely
    won't let in any new Richard Gere movies in any time soon, either.

    In the end, I don't think liberal Hollywood will give in to communist
    China's movie theme demands. But there will be pressure to do so. Just ask
    Christopher Dodd.

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