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Copyright-Protected Businesses Added $1T To Gross Domestic Product In 2012: Study

By | Tuesday November 19, 2013 @ 9:15am PST

It’s easy to appreciate why the MPAA and other groups that support tougher anti-piracy laws are so eager to circulate the report out today from the International Intellectual Property Alliance. It buttresses their case by showing that the national economy increasingly depends on industries that make and distribute content including computer software, movies, TV shows, video games, books, magazines, and newspapers. Their contribution to GDP crossed the $1T mark for the first time in 2012 (at $1.02T, a 5.2% increase vs 2011), accounting for nearly 6.5% of the national total, up from 6.4%. Last year’s growth is a little less impressive if you adjust for inflation: The copyright total was up 3.9%, slower than the previous year (when it was +6.1%) and 2010 (+4.2%). Even so, copyright-protected businesses added more value to GDP last year than construction (at $558.7B) and the federal government ($668.3B) — and came close to health care and social assistance ($1.16T), finance and insurance ($1.24T), and state and local government ($1.36T). Employment in copyright businesses also edged up. They accounted for 5.4M jobs in 2012, +1.9%. That comes to 4.04% of total U.S. employment, and 4.83% of private employment. At the same time, average compensation per employee rose 3.25% to $85,643 — that’s 33% more than the U.S. average, and 39% higher than the private industry average. The study stuck to a long-used formula for calculating the industry’s contribution to GDP instead of adjusting … Read More »

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Ex-MPAA Chief Bob Pisano Named As LA Film Czar Tom Sherak’s “Consigliere”

By | Friday November 15, 2013 @ 2:08pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: The former AMPAS president said last month that he was going to bring a high-profile industry individual on board at City Hall as his “consigliere” – and now he has. Former Motion Picture Association of America president Bob Pisano will serve as an informal advisor to Tom Sherak in the city’s Entertainment Industry and Production office, I’ve learned. Pisano’s primary role will be to help Sherak put together an informal committee to come up with proposals for City Hall and the State legislature to increase production in LA. Pisano stepped down as interim CEO of the MPAA in the fall of 2011 after former Senator Chris Dodd was named CEO and Chairman of the lobby group. Before that Pisano had been the President and COO of the MPAA. The former studio exec and SAG National Executive Director had held that role since 2005. Pisano is currently the chairman of the board of the Motion Picture and Television Fund. Now in his new civic role, Pisano will also help Sherak on a plan to present to Mayor Eric Garcetti early next year. The SAG-AFTRA card carrying Mayor tapped Sherak in late September as to become LA’s Film Czar.

Related: LA Mayor Promises To ‘Storm” Sacramento To Increase State Film/TV Tax Credit

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Weinstein Co Wins MPAA ‘Philomena’ Ratings Appeal

By | Wednesday November 13, 2013 @ 1:40pm PST

Related: The Weinstein Co’s ‘Philomena’ Vs. MPAA 2: Judi Dench’s M Enlists Steve Coogan: Video

Looks like a direct appeal from a Bonded up Dame Judi Dench and her Philomena co-star, writer, and producer Steve Coogan can cut a bit of rating cloth with the MPAA. The Weinstein Company today won its appeal to have the initial R-rating the awards-season hopeful received changed. Philomena will now have a PG-13 rating. The Stephen Frears-directed film fell into the R-zone because it has two uses of the F word in it. The MPAA traditionally only allows one in a PG-13 pic. But, in no part likely also to Weinstein lawyer Bert Fields’ work on the appeal, they obviously changed their mind today.We owe this victory to Barbara Broccoli, producer of the James Bond series, Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes who because of their relationship with Judi Dench gave permission to spoof the ratings system using the M character.  We know that went a long way into shedding light on the themes of the movie and the fact that the PG-13 rating was correct. We are glad the MPAA has a good sense of humor and with the cooperation of Barbara and her team it was proven once again no one does it better than James Bond. And my sincerest congratulations to Steve Coogan, who went to the MPAA and defended the case personally,” said TWC co-chair Harvey Weinstein in a statement today.

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Chinese Groups, MPAA Declare Joint Action Against Online Piracy; Lawsuits Filed

By | Wednesday November 13, 2013 @ 8:31am PST

Youku Tudou, Sohu Video, Tencent Video, LeTV, the MPAA, Wanda Films, Enlight Media and Huayi Brothers are among the partners in the Joint Action Against Online Video Piracy in China. The aim of the effort is to fight online video infringement on PCs and mobile devices in the massive country where illegal access to content is rampant. “Since 2009, the video industry is facing a more severe anti-piracy situation,” Sohu CEO Charles Zhang said at a media event in Beijing today. “Especially when those big Internet companies with resource advantages participate in large-scale piracy. We cannot keep competing because where thieves and robbers are having their way, law-abiding companies cannot survive.” Reps from Sony, Warner Bros, Disney and Paramount also attended the media event. It was further announced there that some Chinese Internet companies have filed lawsuits against search engine Baidu and software company QVOD for what they say are copyright violations, and are seeking $49.2M in damages.

The companies said today that Baidu, China’s answer to Google, “is distributing content without authorization while engaging in activities that are beyond the scope of a search engine.” Users are “able to access content hosted on third party sites” and Baidu is “providing access to rogue video sites that host pirated content and do not have … Read More »

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Gun Violence In Movies: A View From Abroad

By | Tuesday November 12, 2013 @ 4:26pm PST

What prompted that Gun Violence Trends In Movies study I reported on yesterday? The one in which American and Dutch university researchers discovered that over a 20-year period gun violence in PG-13 films has more than tripled and that in 2012, there was more violence in PG-13 films than in R movies, which often gets that rating because of depictions of sex and nudity?

Here’s a closer look.

Co-author of the study, Dan Romer, a psychologist at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, tells me his team initiated its research after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut last year, which unfortunately has been several massacres ago. The study predicts that “youth will be more interested in acquiring and using guns after exposure to gun violence in films.” I grew up in New Jersey and had my fair share of exposure to guns, but there aren’t as many guns here. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t seen incidents in Europe: in Norway in 2011, a gunman killed 69 people at a summer camp on the island of Utøya, and in 2010 in Britain a lone gunman killed a dozen people before turning the gun on himself. Last year in Toulouse, France, a lone perpetrator killed seven people in a series of three attacks. Meanwhile, in Marseille, the death toll in what is seen as an ongoing battle between drug dealing gangs, has just this week reached 18. Still, that is a pittance compared with the U.S., where semi-automatic weapons are so prevalent. According to reports, there have been 9,900 gunshot deaths since the Sandy Hook massacre. Read More »

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UPDATE: Harvey Weinstein To Further Exploit Dame Judi’s “M” Role To Lose ‘Philomena’s R Rating

By | Monday November 11, 2013 @ 1:35pm PST

UPDATED, 1:35 PM: A source tells Deadline that a new full version of TWC‘s Philomena-MPAA video is about to drop. This time Judi Dench’s M will be armed with a secret weapon – Philomena co-star, writer, and producer Steve Coogan – and a surprise ending. Stay tuned.

PREVIOUSLY: The Weinstein Co game plan has been put into play today after the MPAA gave the company’s awards-season hopeful Philomena starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan an R rating. Like the full-court press against the R rating for its documentary Bully in spring 2012 and the scrap over the title for Lee Daniels’ The Butler this year, Harvey Weinstein took to the national airwaves this morning to make his case that Philomena, the relationship drama that has had awards buzz since Cannes, should be given an audience-widening PG-13 berth. “There are two F words in the movie — you’re allowed one F”, Weinstein told Gayle King on CBS This Morning. “This is like The King’s Speech. The movie is the gentlest, most wonderful true story, filled with humor and joy. They should just put PG-13 Strong Language on this and make an exception. So it’s under appeal, but you know …” The Weinstein plan to win hearts and minds includes this taped bit with Dench as her James Bondian alter ego M. Said Weinstein: [In England] it was rated General Audience, for everybody, meaning kids could go see the movie … Read More »

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MPAA Asks U.S. Trade Rep To Add Australia, Brazil, Northern Ireland, And Mexico To List Of “Notorious” Piracy Enablers

By | Monday October 28, 2013 @ 8:50am PDT

The Hollywood lobby group responded to a request from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for names of countries that it should consider including in its list of “notorious markets” to penalize for failing to crack down on piracy. The MPAA’s collection had a lot of familiar targets including Ukraine, Canada, China, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand, and India. But it added several others for providing havens for copyright-infringing peer-to-peer networks, Bit Torrent portals, download and streaming hubs, linking websites and newsgroups, and physical markets pirates. The “rogue overseas marketplaces,” MPAA chief Chrisopher Dodd says, “undermine the people who work hard to create the movies and TV shows audiences love, and jeopardize the billions of dollars they contribute to the U.S. economy.” The group’s letter specifically cites Australia’s Caribbean Gardens & Markets, the country’s “largest undercover market” that routinely sells pirated DVDs. “State and federal police have shown no interest in enforcing [copyright infringement laws] despite multiple entreaties from rights holders.” There’s a similar situation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where the city’s “largest and most famous shopping market” — Mercado Popular de Uruguaiana — “contains more than 1,500 kiosks, many of which sell counterfeit optical discs.” Northern Ireland’s Jonesborough Market has “historically strong ties to paramilitary groups” and operators “sell an array of counterfeit products, including pirated optical discs.” And for Mexico the MPAA cites just a few of “the nearly 90 well-known markets” controlled by organized criminals that “specialize in pirate and … Read More »

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U.S. Indicts 13 Members Of Hacker Group Anonymous, Which Targeted MPAA

By | Friday October 4, 2013 @ 3:07pm PDT

The multinational group supports file sharing and is known for denial-of-service attacks that crash or overwhelm sites, and the grand jury indictment says its first target was the MPAA. Thirteen suspected U.S. members of Anonymous face conspiracy charges tied to the loose-knit group’s “Operation Payback,” an effort launched three years ago in response to the shutdown Swedish file-sharing site Pirate Bay, the indictment says. The filing quotes one set of Anonymous instructions as saying: “This will be a calm, coordinated display of blood. We will not be merciful.” The charges, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA, cover attacks on government, credit card and lobbying sites. A half-dozen suspected leaders of the group were indicted in March 2012.

Related: Hactivists Attack MPAA And Universal Music Sites

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MPAA Boosts Tech Bandwidth With Exec Hires

By | Thursday September 19, 2013 @ 8:37am PDT

Former PBS Chief Technology Officer John McCoskey has been hired by the MPAA as EVP and Chief Technology Officer and Alex Deacon has been appointed to the newly created position of SVP Internet Technology based in Silicon Valley. The additions announced this morning are part of the movie lobby group’s push to better work with the technology community to curb piracy. McCoskey, who reports to COO Diane Strahan, will be responsible for developing and executing the MPAA’s global technology policy in conjunction with advocacy, legal, communications, and content protection initiatives. Deacon, previously Chief Technologist at Neustar Media, will be headquartered in Silicon Valley to build and strengthen relationships with the tech community, focusing on industry leadership, collaboration and standards participation. He will report to McCoskey. “New technology has made it easier than ever to watch your favorite film or television show online, and our studios are relentlessly innovating to develop new options to increase consumer choice”, MPAA chairman and CEO Chris Dodd said in a release announcing the hires. “John and Alex will be important voices at MPAA as our industry continues to work closely with the technology community to better serve our shared audience.”

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MPAA Report Says Google Effort To Reduce Search-Aided Piracy Hasn’t Worked

By | Wednesday September 18, 2013 @ 8:34am PDT

Last year Google changed its search algorithm in a way that was supposed to demote the rankings of websites that had been identified as persistent copyright violators. But there’s “no evidence” that the change has affected search-driven traffic to the sites, the MPAA says today based on a study it commissioned to follow up on the matter. “The share of referral traffic from Google to infringing sites included in the Google Transparency Report remained flat in the three months following Google’s implementation of the change last August.” This is important, MPAA chief Chris Dodd says, because search engines “bear responsibility for introducing people to infringing content — even people who aren’t actively looking for it.” Research firm Compete Inc. studied how many Internet users accessed URLs of 12M film and TV content sites that had hosted infringing content from 2010-2012, but not P2P sites or applications. It found that Google accounted for 82% of the queries that led people to the sites. In addition, 58% of the searches leading to the sites “contained only general keywords — such as the titles of recent films or TV shows, or phrases related to watching films or TV online — and not specific keywords aimed at finding illegitimate content.” U.S. Reps. Howard Coble, Adam Schiff, Marsha Blackburn and Judy Chu joined Dodd in calling on search engine providers to Read More »

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Deadline’s Best Film Stories Of The Week

By | Sunday August 18, 2013 @ 11:00am PDT

These are the top film stories that Deadline ran this week: 

‘Elysium’ #1 But Can’t Break $30M, ‘The Millers’ #2, ‘Planes’ #3, ‘Percy Jackson: Monsters’ #4; ‘Smurfs 2′ Now $156M Global
By Nikki Finke – MONDAY 7 AM, 7TH UPDATE: This weekend’s total moviegoing was $158M which is +11% from last year. Overall a too-crowded marketplace.

Brad Pitt, Paramount Get The Last Laugh As ‘World War Z’ Cracks $500 Million WW To Become His Highest Grossing Film
By Mike Fleming Jr. Paramount Pictures reports that World War Z had passed the $500 million worldwide gross mark, surpassing Troy’s $497.3 million to become Brad Pitt’s highest grossing film ever.

Bradley Cooper Boards Warner Bros’ Lance Armstrong Film As Producer And Potential Star As Race To Mount Bike Pic Heats Up
By Mike Fleming Jr. EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros, Atlas Entertainment and director Jay Roach are making their move in the race to mount a feature on Lance Armstrong, the 7-time Tour de France champion who was defrocked and disgraced when he finally admitted he was doping

MPAA Read More »

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UPDATE: MPAA Confirms Studio Win In China Box Office Pay Dispute

By | Tuesday August 13, 2013 @ 6:15pm PDT

UPDATE: MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd declared Tuesday evening that Hollywood’s revenue beef with the Chinese government has been settled in favor of the studios: “The MPAA understands that the China Film Group stopped payments owed to MPAA studios in China pending resolution of the application of a new value-added tax (VAT) due to be implemented nationwide as of August 1. We are pleased to hear that the Chinese government has addressed the matter and all money due will be paid in full. It is our understanding that the payment process has recommenced. The U.S. and Chinese film industries enjoy a close and productive relationship and the MPAA is grateful to our counterpart, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) for their commitment in resolving this matter favorably. We look forward to further strengthening our ties with SAPPRFT as the Chinese screen community continues its path to becoming a global powerhouse in the international entertainment market.”

PREVIOUS: In the battle over box office receipts between the studios and China’s government with hundreds of millions at stake, Hollywood appears to have won. That’s per WSJ, which is reporting that the MPAA has successfully settled an ongoing dispute over a value-added tax China-owned distrib China Film Group wanted to charge on box office returns. The fees would have cost studios including Fox, Paramount, Sony and WB a portion … Read More »

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‘Last Vegas’ Rating Changed To PG-13 After Appeal

By | Thursday August 1, 2013 @ 2:31pm PDT

The MPAA‘s Classification and Rating appeals board has overturned the R rating given to the CBS Films pic Last Vegas, which is set to open November 1. The pic starring Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline and Robert De Niro as old buddies hitting Las Vegas for a bachelor party had been assigned an R rating for “brief sexual content.” The film is now rated PG-13 for “sexual content and language.” Director Jon Turteltaub and producer Amy Baer repped CBS Films in the hearing.

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MPAA Hires Away Energy And Commerce Committee Chief Counsel

By | Thursday August 1, 2013 @ 1:57pm PDT

WASHINGTON- The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.(MPAA) today announced that Neil Fried has joined the organization as a Senior Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs. In this capacity, Fried will oversee all of the Association’s Federal and Regulatory Affairs efforts in Washington. He will report to Michael O’Leary, Senior Executive Vice President, Global Policy and External Affairs.

“We are very excited to have Neil join our team,” commented MPAA Chairman and CEO, Senator Chris Dodd. “Neil served with distinction on Capitol Hill, and I am confident he will lead our federal advocacy efforts with the same track record for success he has shown throughout his career. We are delighted to have Neil advocating for the film and television industry.”

Read More »

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Entertainment R&D Boosts Federal GDP Calculation Following Formula Changes

By | Wednesday July 31, 2013 @ 11:06am PDT

When the Commerce Department reported this morning that the Gross Domestic Product rose 1.7% from April through June, the figure was 3% higher than expected — and that’s partly due to the change, MPAA chief Chris Dodd says in a blog post. The department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis revises its GDP calculation policies every five years, and this is the first time that it folded in R&D investments for creative work. It also revised its GDP numbers to incorporate the investments going back to 1929. That resulted in an average 3% bump, Dodd says, including $471B last year to bring the size of economic output to $16.2T. In Q2 this year investments in films, television shows, literature and music amounted to $75.3B. “For years, the BEA treated the money that was spent creating new entertainment works as current expenses — or costs of business,” Dodd says. “Therefore the film and television industry was captured in the GDP only downstream based on revenue generated by film and television products, and did not include the impact on the economy based on their investment.” Now the investments in film and TV are treated as intangible assets, not expenses. It reflects the new view that “Long after they’re first developed, these creations continue to retain their value and deliver residual benefits,” Dodd says.

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MPAA And Cable Industry Back Bill To Study Media And Violence

By | Tuesday July 30, 2013 @ 8:47am PDT

Movie and cable lobbyists say that they ““welcome further examination of the reasons behind societal violence” – the rationale behind the bill to be marked up at the Senate Commerce Committee today that would require the National Academy of Sciences to study the impact that violent videos and games have on kids. The bill from committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. VA) is a response to last year’s Sandy Hook school shootings. But the MPAA and National Cable & Telecommunications Association pointedly note that while they will be “productive partners in the conversation about culture in America,” they already try to help parents to make “appropriate family viewing and entertainment decisions.” The trade groups cite their work with TV and film ratings and public service announcements. Today’s statement seems more defensive than the National Association of Broadcasters was when it said that it “supports” the bill, in part because it might make sense of the current “conflicting scientific data” about the connection between media and violence. The NAB says it hopes that “greater civility can be restored to society and that incidences of societal violence can be reduced.” Rockefeller says that he’ll also ask the FCC and FTC to take a fresh look at media violence. “Major corporations, Read More »

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China Box Office Payments To Hollywood Studios “In Flux”

By | Monday July 29, 2013 @ 4:28pm PDT

Back in March it was MPAA chief Chris Dodd tub-thumping China‘s box office prowess after the organization’s Theatrical Market Statistics report showed that China accounted for $2.7B in box office sales in 2012. That vaulted the country past Japan to become the world’s No. 2 movie market and justified the onslaught of U.S.-China co-productions geared toward gaining an extra foothold in the lucrative market. But it turns out there now may be a snag in that silver lining: Several studio sources are confirming that the Chinese government has not paid studios for their hits in that country for films released in 2012 and 2013, and an insider says that the MPAA recently stepped in to work on a deal with governing body China Film Group to pay U.S. studios for their share of Chinese grosses. Sister publication Variety reports that at the heart of the dispute is a value-added tax that the Chinese government is looking to impose that cuts into Hollywood’s 25% revenue share, and that the U.S. Trade Representative has stepped in with the MPAA to broker a solution. So far, though, no studios are willing to accept the lower payments in fear that it would validate China’s VAT proposal. A source close to the matter says the situation is “in flux at present”. Local films have gained market share in China this year, but Hollywood studios still see nothing but dollar signs when they … Read More »

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TOLDJA! Weinstein Co. Can Title Its Movie ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’, If It Wants

By | Friday July 19, 2013 @ 7:40pm PDT

UPDATED, 8:07PM… Both sides are claiming victory — of course — in the battle over The Butler. As Deadline first reported Thursday and then updated this morning, the MPAA said tonight that its original ruling in the case went too far, and it has overturned the part that excluded the Weinstein Company from using the word “butler” in the title of its historical drama. The MPAA Appeals Board’s decision — read it here and decide for yourself — says TWC can use the word “butler” in the title, but all words in the title have to be of same size/prominence. If the company indeed decides to title the film Lee Daniels’ The Butler, though, “Lee Daniels” has to be 75% the size of “The Butler.” TWC has to pay $400,000 to the Entertainment Industry Foundation as sanctions for violating the July 2 award and must pay the charity $25,000 per day to for violating today’s award, which increases to $50,000 a day if they don’t issue new digital materials (trailers, TV ads, etc.) for the film by July 26 and new print materials by August. TWC also has to pay Warner Bros’ $150,000 in legal fees. Some background, for those who might have been on safari the past few weeks, after the jump: Read More »

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MPAA Schedules ‘The Butler’ Title Appeal Hearing

By | Thursday July 18, 2013 @ 1:00pm PDT

Harvey Weinstein will get his chance tomorrow to convince the MPAA to overturn their title ruling on The Butler. An appeal arbitration hearing has been set for 10 AM Friday in the Motion Picture Association of America’s Sherman Oaks offices, I’ve learned. The hearing comes over two weeks after The Weinstein Company lost a Title Registration Bureau arbitration to Warner Bros on the matter of the Lee Daniels-directed White House drama. Warner Bros says Weinstein can’t use the title because of a 1916 short film with the same title that WB had registered and the MPAA agreed. TWC has been being fined $25,000 a day in penalties over the matter since the initial ruling as they have not removed the title from the marketing, promotion and other materials related to the pic. It is unclear if the appeal hearing will include company and studio execs or just their respective lawyers but with the letters, potential lawsuits and public remarks that have been flying the past fortnight, it’s going to be a tense sitdown regardless. A possible compromise could be in the works with WB having suggested a couple of months back that the film be called Lee Daniels’ The Butler. This was brought up again, sources tell me, in a proposal that WB sent to TWC last … Read More »

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