If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen a statement loaded with legalese that users post hoping to create a copyright protection for their content. It’s based on a belief that the social network company changed its rules so it can exploit the material. A minor, and mistaken, rumor? Perhaps. But MPAA chief Chris Dodd writes on the Huffington Post today that it “provides average Internet users with some insight into the point of view of the creators of movies, music or other artistic endeavors whose work has been subject to online theft” and indicates why “copyright protection is more important than ever.” It’s a sensitive point: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg — like most tech execs — opposed the MPAA’s failed effort early this year to persuade Congress to crack down on Internet piracy. Dodd says that ”it’s critically important that we continue a collaborative conversation with the tech community about how we can protect an Internet that works for everyone….The studios I represent call them audiences and the tech companies call them users, but giving people the best possible experience is a shared goal because at the end of the day, we all report to the consumer.” The misunderstanding at Facebook “is a great reminder of that.”
The MPAA is lobbying for movies shipped abroad in “digital cinema packs,” which have replaced traditional film reels, included under duty-free provisions of an expanded international trade agreement. The digital movie media didn’t exist when the first International Trade Agreement was …
The Motion Picture Association of America and SAG-AFTRA today commended Gov. Jerry Brown for signing into law a two-year extension of California’s $100 million a year film and television tax credits. Read their statements below:
“The state of California took a big step forward today, thanks to Governor Brown and the legislature,” said Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. “The two-year extension of the state’s production tax credit will keep California competitive for tens of thousands of production-related jobs. This is an important victory for California’s economy, our national economy, and the hardworking men and women who comprise the film and television industry.”
For the first time, Italy and Switzerland appear on the list of countries that need to step up their enforcement of intellectual property. China, Russia and Ukraine are the other countries named by the Congressional IAPC. In response, Motion Picture Association of America Senior EVP for Global and External Affairs Michael O’Leary released the following statement:
“The motion picture and television industry supports the jobs of 2.1 million creators, makers and other workers here in the United States and millions of others across the globe. For the United States, the entertainment we deliver is a critical driver of U.S. exports, consistently generating a positive balance of trade and entertaining audiences everywhere.
“As technology evolves and we transform the way we enjoy content, it remains important to protect our exports and ensure that hard working creators are compensated for their work. We believe governments around the world share our admiration of the original work created by the film and television community, and we hope all countries identified today will take the important steps necessary to protect this work from online theft and foster legitimate online commerce.
Hollywood moguls haven’t given up on their goal of persuading Congress to adopt anti-piracy initiatives. But their lobby group the MPAA is promoting the controversial issue gingerly, issuing today its first-ever election-season memo of stats and talking points for candidates and “interested parties.” It extols Hollywood’s multibillion-dollar contribution to the economy and employment, as well as technological innovation. But it also promotes the need for new copyright protection strategies and opens the door to legislation similar to the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA), which were beaten back in January following vigorous opposition by the tech industry and free speech advocates. The document (read it here) says that copyright protection “is critical to ensuring” that entertainment companies can “benefit from their creations” online. It also says there’s no need to fear that the government might use new anti-piracy powers to crack down on dissident speech or legitimate Internet businesses. “We can protect creative works while ensuring that the Internet works for everyone,” the MPAA says.
Singapore/Beijing: On September 6, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and Taobao Marketplace (Taobao.com), China’s leading online retail platform signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote a healthier online environment in China for the sale and distribution of legitimate audio-visual content.
Both parties have reached a common understanding regarding the importance of strengthening existing standards, mechanisms, and mutual responsibilities concerning the identification and removal of copies of MPA member company content from Taobao.com’s consumer-targeted e-commerce platform that the members have identified as counterfeit or otherwise infringing.
As expected, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), was rejected by the European Parliament today. An overwhelming majority voted against the treaty designed to establish international rules for cracking down on piracy and copyright infringement. Concerns raised over the agreement included …
Ending over 12 years of negotiations, an international treaty protecting actors’ rights was signed today in Beijing. The treaty is backed by UN agency WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, which includes 185 member states. Now known as the Beijing Treaty, it’s designed to extend economic and moral protection for film and TV performers around the world. Such Hollywood stars as Meryl Streep and Javier Bardem have been big proponents of its implementation. Dominick Luquer, general secretary of the Federation of International Actors said today, “This Treaty will give performers critical rights that will help them control the legitimate exploitation of their work and benefit financially from the new digital reality.”
SAG-AFTRA co-presidents Ken Howard and Roberta Reardon jointly welcomed the news: “Actors and other audiovisual performers have long needed the crucial protections of this treaty, and now we can finally have them. With new rights to proper compensation for the use of our work and control over the use of our images and likenesses, actors will have important tools to protect themselves around the world. This rising tide can lift the boats of all actors worldwide.”
The MPAA is ramping up its efforts to combat movie piracy, appointing attorney Marc Miller as SVP Content Protection, Internet. Miller joins from Nintendo of America, where he was Anti-Piracy Counsel for Americas and Asia/Pacific. He …
An MPAA-commissioned study released by Ernest & Young today concludes that state film incentive programs are good for local economies – and not just if you work in the business. “The economic benefits to residents extend beyond the production activities themselves and include increased activity by suppliers to the film industry and increased consumer spending from higher incomes,” says Robert Cline, E&Y’s National Director of State and Local Tax Policy Economics and co-author of the Evaluating the Effectiveness of State Film Tax Credit Programs study. Thirty-seven states currently have film credit programs. The programs, with Louisiana, Illinois, Florida and Georgia among the most utilized by studios in recent years, draw from an estimated $1.2 billion in tax dollars annually nationwide. While providing few hard numbers, the E&Y report notes that some of the long term benefits a state with a film incentive program can enjoy are increased tourism, if the location ‘plays itself’ in productions, infrastructure development and seasoned local crews which can lead to increased tax revenues, spending and investment.
The former senator made the comment as he defended the trade group’s ratings efforts. They came under fire when the MPAA initially gave Bully, a Weinstein Co documentary about teenage bullying, an R due to characters’ use of profanity. The rating would have made the film off-limits for the very teens the movie was designed to help. (The producers ultimately cut a few of the words, and won a PG-13 rating.) Although Dodd says that the public should have a clearer sense of what goes into the decision making, he told reporters in a meeting that the people who make the judgments have “a thankless job” in a system that basically “works well.” National Association of Theatre Owners CEO John Fithian concurred. If the MPAA didn’t take on the assignment then it could result in government censorship or local ratings. That would result in havoc because “what people care about in LA is vastly different than what they care about in Omaha.” Although the ratings process results in lost ticket sales, “the alternative is far worse.”
The CEOs of the MPAA and the National Association of Theatre Owners used their opening addresses to the exhibition industry’s CinemaCon convention today to advocate a new spirit of cooperation between the embattled and often warring businesses. Last year’s convention “ended on a sour note,” NATO CEO John Fithian said, when word spread that three studios planned to launch a premium VOD experiment — they let DirecTV offer some movies two months after their theatrical release for $30 a viewing. That threatened to give audiences an incentive to stay at home, theater owners feared. But Fithian says that the experiment “was not a resounding success.” Now, he says, theaters and studios are “talking about how to grow the business together.” MPAA chief Chris Dodd also talked up the need to persuade audiences that “the movie-going experience remains something special, something to be savored and enjoyed, something so innovative and creative that it cannot be duplicated at home no matter how many boxes they have.” He also thanked theater owners for supporting a big issue on his agenda: legislation to combat movie piracy. The MPAA ended up with a black eye this year when it failed to persuade Congress to pass the controversial bills that would have empowered the government to block sites run by overseas pirates. “I urge you to continue to be a part of a thoughtful and rational solution to protecting intellectual property,” Dodd told theater owners. He added that he remains “committed to doing all I can to achieve a satisfactory resolution to the protection of intellectual property” and is trying to build bridges to the tech industry which opposed the bills.
Singapore/Beijing – On April 11, as part of U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke’s Roundtable on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Protection, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) together with major Chinese online video sites Youku, Sohu, iQiyi, and LeTV unveiled a “Thank You” video featuring nearly 100 of China’s leading actors and filmmakers.
Heeding a call from the MPA, China’s film community turned out in droves to deliver personal messages of thanks to the sites’ hundreds of millions of users and a call for support of legitimate online screen content – with the full backing of China’s burgeoning online video industry.