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MPAA’s Top Lobbyist Michael O’Leary Exiting

By | Wednesday June 18, 2014 @ 10:47am PDT

MPAA’s Top Lobbyist Michael O’Leary ExitingMichael O’Leary, Senior EVP for Global Policy and External Affairs at the MPAA, will exit at the end of June, staying on as an an adviser during the transition. O’Leary joined the Hollywood lobby group in 2005 and was promoted to his current position in 2011. He was also on the MPAA Board Of Directors, and helped build the organization’s domestic lobby team in Washington DC. Prior to joining, he was deputy chief for intellectual property in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Tech Activists Protest SOPA And PIPA BillsDuring O’Leary’s tenure the MPAA led the fight for two highly controversial anti-piracy bills known as Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). Entertainment and media companies pushed the bills hard, but their prospects collapsed in the face of vociferous opposition online and off organized by the tech industry and privacy advocates. SOPA would have enabled the government to block overseas websites that traffic in copyright-infringing content.


O’Leary also helped the effort that led China to increase its quota on movie imports to 34 from 20. In addition, he was instrumental in securing federal and state tax incentives to keep TV and film production in the U.S.

“Having accomplished most of my goals at the MPAA, I am excited to move onto new career challenges,” O’Leary says. He plans to “take some time in deciding on his next endeavor,” the trade group says.

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Hollywood Lobbyists Say They’re Willing To Compromise On Anti-Piracy Legislation

The leading supporters of legislation to attack overseas web sites that traffic in pirated entertainment say that they’re prepared to address some legislators’ concerns about potential threats to legitimate Internet businesses. “I think you’ll see some movement,” says Michael O’Leary, MPAA’s Senior Executive Vice President for Global Policy and External Affairs. But he adds that it probably won’t be enough to stop tech companies from opposing the bill — known in the House as the Stop Online Piracy Act and in the Senate as Protect IP Act. Some of them “have no intention of agreeing” to a compromise, he says, because they “want the current state of play to continue.” The comments came in a briefing that included the Directors Guild of America and the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employee’s Union. They’re eager to communicate the industry’s reasons for supporting the legislation that would give federal officials the authority to block overseas web sites that sell copyrighted work without the owners’ permission. “Our opposition does not feel constrained by a need to tell the truth,” says Kathy Garmezy, DGA’s Associate Executive Director for Goverment and International Affairs. Tech companies who say that SOPA might violate civil liberties, she adds, are merely trying “to gin people up into a frenzy.”

That appears to be working. The bill has “a lot of hurdles” to overcome, O’Leary says — although he adds that “we will win this Read More »

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Jobs Vs Free Speech? House Committee Hears Debate Over Stop Online Piracy Act

UPDATED: The House Judiciary Committee has wrapped up its hearing about the Stop Online Piracy Act, which would enable the government to block overseas websites that traffic in copyright-infringing content. Movie studios support the measure and tech companies oppose it. Representatives from the MPAA, U.S. Library of Congress, Pfizer, MasterCard, Google, and the AFL-CIO testified.

Bill opponents complained that the witness list was overloaded with supporters. “Concerns about SOPA have been raised by Tea Partiers, progressives, computer scientists, human rights advocates, venture capitalists, law professors, independent musicians, and many more. Unfortunately, these voices were not heard at today’s hearing,” Consumer Electronic Association CEO Gary Shapiro says. Google, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Yahoo, and Twitter said in a letter to the committee yesterday that the bill poses “a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job creation, as well as to our nation’s cybersecurity.” Google says it would rather see lawmakers pass legislation that would trace consumer payments to copyright-infringing sites. “If we can cut off their financial ties, they won’t have a way to make money,” Google counsel Katherine Oyama said, warning that SOPA could lead to “unintended consequences” stifling free speech. “Getting the balance right is important.”

But Michael O’Leary, the MPAA’s senior EVP for global policy and external affairs, says that the measure “is about jobs” noting that movie and TV companies account for more than 2M jobs across all states with $38.9B going in … Read More »

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MPAA Announces New SEVP Global Policy

Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman/CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, today set the new leadership team under his watch, including a promotion for Michael O’Leary to SEVP of Global Policy and External Affairs. Dodd also brought in his former Deputy Chief Of Staff from his U.S. Senate days Lori McGrogan to become Senior Adviser To The Chairman. He also revamped the internal PR staff, hiring Laura Nichols, now MPAA’s EVP Global Communications.

O’Leary, in his new role, will supervise all international, federal and state affairs operations. In addition, O’Leary will oversee the Association’s technology and research efforts. Previously, he had been EVP of Government Affairs, responsible for the development and the implementation of the MPAA’s domestic government policy priorities and federal and state legislative and regulatory strategies. According to his official bio, O’Leary has nearly 20 years of intellectual property policy and enforcement experience. Before coming to work for the MPAA, O’Leary served as Deputy Chief for Intellectual Property in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Department of Justice, where he prosecuted and supervised major domestic and international criminal intellectual property investigations and prosecutions.

Dodd said in a statement: “The creative community’s voice in Washington will be critical in the months and years ahead as our leaders debate what will be the best, most cost-effective ways to produce new jobs and protect the ones we have. We’ve assembled a senior team, who, together … Read More »

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MPAA To Pols: Fix Intellectual Property Law

By | Wednesday June 1, 2011 @ 2:24pm PDT

The MPAA’s chief lobbyist Michael O’Leary testified today before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet, part of the group’s ongoing effort to highlight the impact of the illegal streaming of content on Hollywood. In his prepared remarks, he called on the panel to amend current intellectual property law to give equal penalties for illegal streaming and illegal downloading — currently, downloads are given greater weight. “In addressing the subject of illegal streaming, it is important to note what this debate is not about. It is not a debate between technology and innovation and the creation of content. That is a false choice raised by too many people,” he told the committee. “This issue is really about favoring legitimacy over theft — about promoting and preserving creativity and production and punishing people who seek to profit through stealing the hard work of others.”

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MPAA: Movie Piracy Downright Un-American

By | Wednesday April 6, 2011 @ 8:22am PDT
Mike Fleming

In a hearing held today by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet Subcommittee on the negative impacts of movie content thieves, MPAA vice president Michael O’Leary made the battle against movie pirates sound downright patriotic. “The key foundation of American industry, the expectation that hard work and innovation is rewarded,  is imperiled when thieves, whether online or on the street, are allowed to steal America’s creative products and enrich themselves along the way,” he said. “Rampant theft of American intellectual property puts the livelihoods of the workers who invest time, energy and fortune to create the filmed entertainment enjoyed by millions at risk; to these men and women and their families, digital theft means declining incomes, lost jobs and reduced health and retirement benefits. We believe that rogue sites legislation, combined with the Administration’s work with intermediaries and enforcement by the IPR Center, will go a long way towards shutting down the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted works and close a gap in the intellectual property law.”

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