MPAA boss Chris Dodd has apparently resorted to out and out lying as he makes a big push to get SOPA passed. On Tuesday he spoke
at an event for the Center for American Progress, in which he pulled out his usual "woe is us" story about why Congress needs to pass SOPA/PIPA. However, Dodd, once again, appears to be factually challenged. For example, during questions, Dodd claimed:
“The entire film industry of Spain, Egypt and Sweden are gone.”
James Losey thought this was odd, given that he was familiar with some films coming out of Sweden
Sweden actually produces a number of high quality films. Released in 2008, the vampire flim Let The Right One In received critical acclaim here in the U.S. Additionally, all three best-selling books of the Millennium Trilogy are Swedish films and 2009’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was quite successful. The film made a modest $10 million in the U.S. and a respectable $104 million worldwide.
Considering the budget for the U.S. remake of the film is $100 million - as much as the original film has earned to date - perhaps Dodd meant that the film does not count until Hollywood gets a chance to remake it. Ironically, the U.S. remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was shot in Sweden.
Chris Dodd was correct to say that film is an international industry, but he was wrong to say that the Swedish film industry has disappeared and misleading to imply that all Hollywood jobs are American jobs. At least for this Hollywood production, Sweden has a lot to gain.
Of course, there's also plenty of actual data on the film industries around the world, so I figured that perhaps I'd dig into the numbers a bit more than James' excellent debunking, just to see if there was any
truth to Dodd's bizarre claims. Thankfully, the folks at the UN actually track this data. On top of that, the awesome chartsbin has laid out how many films
every country produces in a neat interactive map:
Let's start with Sweden. I think the chart above is a bit out of date. Looking through the UN data
, it shows that Sweden produced 41 feature films in 2009 -- actually a significant increase from 2007 and 2008. No sign that the industry is "gone" there. But perhaps it used to be much bigger? Back to the UN we go... to learn that in 1995, Sweden made 17 feature films. Gone? Sorry, the facts say Dodd is lying.
Okay. Let's look at Egypt. The latest UN data shows Egypt produced 46 films in 2009. Not bad. But perhaps it used to be much bigger? Oh, whoops. 1996 (the earliest data available) shows that Egypt produced 24 films that year. So it looks like the industry has about doubled. Gone? Oops. Dodd is lying.
Finally, let's check out Spain. Spain has been a favorite target of both the MPAA and the RIAA lately. They like to claim that "lax" copyright laws there have decimated the entertainment industry in that country. Once again, the facts show a totally different story. If you look at the map above, you can see that Spain is actually a movie making powerhouse in Europe, and the data shows that it just keeps making more and more movies. In 2009 it produced 186 movies, and the trend has been directly up. In 2008 it was 173. Go back to 2005 and it was 142. Go back to 1999? 82 films. Back to '95? 59 films. Yeah, film production has more than tripled in the last fifteen years.
Sorry, but Chris Dodd is flat out lying.
Why do the public and politicians let him get away with blatant falsehoods as he seeks to push a law that will set up an American censorship system? The facts say that he's full of it... and yet we're supposed to trust him that this bill is needed?