Just over three months after the Motion Picture Association of America won an important legal victory finding file-sharing service Hotfile and its founder Anton Titov liable for copyright infringement, the site today took a fatal double blow. A federal court in South Florida on Tuesday awarded the studios and the MPAA $80 million in damages and ordered the file-sharing site to shut down unless it puts copyright filtering technologies in place. Coming just days before a trial was to start next week, today’s settlement brings to an end the MPAA and the studios’ nearly three-year legal action against Hotfile, says the Hollywood lobby group. “This judgment by the court is another important step toward protecting an Internet that works for everyone,” MPAA boss Chris Dodd said in a statement Tuesday. “Sites like Hotfile that illegally profit off of the creativity and hard work of others do a serious disservice to audiences, who deserve high-quality, legitimate viewing experiences online.”
With a list of the thousands of TV shows and films that Hotfile allegedly had infringed, the original 2011 complaint had Disney Enterprises, Universal City Studios Productions, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros as its plaintiffs. As other file-sharing sites have tried to do in similar cases, Hotfile employed the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as a defense. It was obviously a defense that was rejected by the courts. That was compounded by the MPAA’s 2012 motion for summary judgment against Hotfile to have the site shut down and for damages to the studios whose work it supposedly had infringed — damages they got today courtesy of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
As its war on piracy rages on, the MPAA has picked Steven Fabrizio to be its new legal general. The senior partner in the Washington DC office of Jenner & Block today was named Senior … Read More »
Three weeks before a copyright infringement trial was set to begin, filesharing site isoHunt has agreed to shut down and pay out $110 million in a settlement to several Hollywood studios. The deal was … Read More »
Nearly two years and a half years after first filing their suit on behalf of several studios, the MPAA today scored a victory against file-sharing service Hotfile. A federal court in Florida has found the site and its boss Anton Titov liable for copyright infringement. Today is the first time a U.S. court has ruled that such cyberlocker sites can be held directly liable for their practices. “This decision sends a clear signal that businesses like Hotfile that are built on a foundation of stolen works will be held accountable for the damage they do both to the hardworking people in the creative industries and to a secure, legitimate Internet”, MPAA chairman and CEO Chris Dodd in a statement today. “We applaud the court for recognizing that Hotfile was not simply a storage locker, but an entire business model built on mass distribution of stolen content.” With claims of “ill-gotten gains” and a list of hundreds of the thousands of TV shows and films that Hotfile had allegedly infringed, the original 2011 complaint had Disney Enterprises, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal City Studios Productions, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros as its plaintiffs. As others have done, the stateside-based Hotfile tried to use the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as a defense — although ultimately unsuccessfully. Today’s full decision from Judge Kathleen Williams won’t be made public for two weeks until confidential and propriety details are redacted. However, lawyers for both sides were allowed to review the opinion before its gist was revealed. Read More »
New York State has seen a dramatic rise in recent years in film and television production and jobs, says a report released today by the MPAA. Employment in the industry in the state grew by 25% between 2008 and 2011, according to the study (read it here) conducted by HR&A Advisors for the MPAA. The approximately 46,100 jobs and 135 productions in New York in 2011 are a direct result of the state’s tax credit, says MPAA chairman and CEO Chris Dodd — a clear comparison to the sagging situation in Los Angeles County and California. “These findings further confirm that the New York State production incentives have grown into a major economic driver in the state’s economy,” said Dodd. That’s translating into this year, too: As of mid-November 2012, film and TV spending in New York State is at $1.9 billion, more than previous high of $1.83 billion from 2008 and with six weeks left in the year. TV series Law & Order SVU, Blue Bloods and Elementary are among those that film in New York. Disney’s The Avengers partially shot there last year and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street is among the features shooting there right now. Read More »
The Motion Picture Association of America, lead by former Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Dodd, approves of what the Republicans have to say about protecting intellectual property and internet freedom in their party platform. The GOP platform, … Read More »
It’s not shutting them down as many in Hollywood would like but if a site is repeatedly posting pirated material then Google announced today that they’re going to flag it. “Starting next week, we will begin taking into … Read More »
UPDATE, 12:35 PM: The basic message from the MPAA and the National Association of Theatre Owners is that there’s nothing wrong with the movie business that a couple of hits can’t fix. “We needed a few more good movies” in 2011, NATO chief John Fithian says, describing the reason for last year’s 3.8% downturn in domestic ticket sales. “There wasn’t any Avatar in 2011.” But this year’s different, which is especially evident on the eve of Lionsgate’s release of The Hunger Games. Fithian says it could generate as much as $120M domestically this weekend, which would make it “the biggest opening for the month of March….We’re adding screens every minute.” With domestic sales up about 14% year to date, “we’re very confident about 2012 being an up year domestically as well as globally.” What about Disney’s debacle with John Carter, which just resulted in a $200M write down? “I admire Disney taking a chance,” MPAA chief Chirs Dodd says. But theater owners want to see studios take fewer chances when it comes to creating a new premium VOD window on pay TV. “Last year we had a public food fight,” Fithian says. “The attitude is much different in 2012….I’m very encouraged.” Read More »
MPAA’s new Chairman/CEO Chris Dodd held his first official Board meeting in Washington DC today. But here’s what I find most interesting: following the meeting, the members of the Board from the major studios suddenly embraced the leaders from the … Read More »
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 »
I’m suspicious of reports that give a precise dollar figure for how much value an industry contributes to the economy — especially when the results help the industry to make a case for some legislation it wants passed. … Read More »
MPAA Files Lawsuit Against Zediva Streaming Service
The MPAA’s fight on behalf of the studios to shut down movie-streaming site Zediva began in April, when it filed a lawsuit claiming the service offered up films to paying customers without permission … Read More »
Ronald Reagan Film Career To Be Honored In Washington DC Nov. 14 By Motion Picture Industry & Reagan Centennial Celebration
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Chris Dodd, CEO and Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) along with Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, are pleased to announce their partnership in programs honoring the contributions of Ronald Reagan to the motion picture industry to take place on November 14, 2011.
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EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that the Motion Picture Association Of America representing the Hollywood movie studios will be co-hosting a tribute to Ronald Reagan’s film career on November 14th in Washington DC. The other host will be the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration, which is the year-long commemoration of Reagan’s 100th birthday in 2011. All the movie studios are obtaining old footage of Reagan’s 53-movie legacy from 1937 to 1965 and are putting together around 5 cinematic profiles of the former Screen Actors Guild president for the bipartisan event. But I suspect the real reason behind this Reagan tribute is to remind the Republican Party going into this election that Reagan was part of Hollywood. After all, the GOP and showbiz are barely on speaking terms these days, and recently the MPAA hired former Democratic Senator Chris Dodd to head the Hollywood lobbying organization even though certainly the House and likely the Senate and maybe even the White House, too, will be under Republican control in 2012. But the MPAA, which bills itself as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture industry, needs to continue to enlist the U.S. government’s help in fighting piracy overseas as well obtaining tax breaks for Big Media. The Hollywood studios participating in the tribute consist of the Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (owned by Walt Disney Co), Paramount Pictures Corporation (owned by Viacom), Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc (owned by Sony Corp), Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (owned by News Corp), Universal City Studios LLC (owned by Comcast), and Warner Bros Entertainment Inc (owned by Time Warner).
Just to remind you, Reagan grew up in Illinois, attended college, and became a radio sports announcer (“Dutch” Reagan) until he moved to California after a screen test in 1937 won him a Warner Bros contract in Hollywood. Commissioned as a cavalry officer after the outbreak of WWII, Reagan was assigned to the Army Air Force’s First Motion Picture Unit making mostly training films in Los Angeles. He was typecast as the affable friend in mostly B movies and never reached the pinnacle of filmdom, despite many memorable roles like Knute Rockne – All American (1940) and Kings Row (1942) and Hasty Heart (1950). His tenure as SAG president was marked by controversy Read More »
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 … Read More »
After weeks of rumors, it looks like the Motion Picture Association of America has finally found a permanent replacement in the chairman post most recently held by Dan Glickman. Christopher Dodd, the former Democratic Senator from Connecticut will get the post, per The New York Times.