Viacom CEO Blames “Misinformation” For Shelving Of Anti-Piracy Bills

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 1:51pm PST

Freelancer Cari Lynn is contributing to Deadline’s coverage.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman acknowledges that it will take time before Congress revisits the anti-piracy bills that Hollywood supported: the Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). But the one-time lawyer says that studios and their representatives at the MPAA didn’t lose the recent lobby push on the merits of their case. There was “a lot of misinformation” from Silicon Valley, he said today at a conference sponsored by All Things D. Opponents including the tech industry said that the bills giving the government the power to block overseas sites that traffic in pirated content could be misused to stifle innovation and free speech. “It became almost religious dogma,” Dauman says. He still considers the proposals to be ”very reasonable”, adding that piracy “makes the standards more difficult in greenlighting a film.” Read More »

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Will Hollywood Acknowledge That Anti-Piracy Legislation Is Dead In 2012?

Incredibly, there’s still some chatter in the infotainment lobbying community about launching another effort this year to pass tough anti-piracy legislation — even though lawmakers decided more than a week ago to scuttle the Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). After all, the thinking goes, even people who opposed the Hollywood-endorsed bills agree that the piracy problem needs to be addressed. The idea is to come up with a more palatable version of the proposals, and then try to gain traction with the public by running ads featuring A-list stars talking about how a new law would protect U.S. jobs.  But don’t worry. Cooler heads probably will prevail as it sinks in that 2012 won’t be the year when Congress will adopt a variation of Hollywood’s proposal to let the government block overseas sites that traffic in pirated content. Read More »

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Pew: Anti-Piracy Fight Was Biggest Story Of The Week For Young Adults

Here’s one reason why the MPAA and other lobbyists may have felt blindsided last week by the outpouring of protests against the Hollywood supported anti-piracy bills: Young people cared about the subject far, far more than the rest of the population did, according to a weekly measurement by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The researchers found that 23% of people between ages 18 and 29 tracked the news about the debate over the Senate’s Protect IP Act and the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act more than any other story — making it No. 1 for the week for this group. By contrast, just 7% of all adults considered the dispute, which resulted in Wikipedia going dark for a day, to be the week’s biggest news. For them it ranked behind the Italian cruise ship accident, the elections, and the economy. Read More »

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MPAA Hopes Congress’ Anti-Piracy Delay Will Change “The Dynamics Of The Conversation”

By | Friday January 20, 2012 @ 8:20am PST

Here’s MPAA CEO Chris Dodd’s response to Sen. Harry Reid’s decision this morning to postpone the vote planned for next week on the Protect IP Act:

“We applaud those leaders in Washington who have chosen to stand with the millions of

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Congress Puts Anti-Piracy Bills On Hold

By | Friday January 20, 2012 @ 7:28am PST

Looks like Wednesday’s massive Internet protest against the Hollywood-supported anti-piracy legislation worked. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said this morning that “in light of recent events” he’s calling off the planned Tuesday vote for the Protect IP Act — which would give government officials the power to block overseas sites that traffic in pirated content. Shortly afterward, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said he will  ”postpone consideration” of a similar bill — the Stop Online Piracy Act –  “until there is wider agreement on a solution.” Both lawmakers claim the issue isn’t dead: Reid says that he’s “optimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks.” New York Sen. Chuck Schumer tweets: “You’ve been heard. [The Protect IP Act] has been pulled so we can find a better solution.” But the general feeling is that supporters of the legislation will have a hard time getting the bills back on track — and certainly not with the enforcement muscle that Hollywood wants. Here’s Reid’s statement:

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Web Activists’ Assault On Anti-Piracy Bills Sends Supporters Fleeing

By | Wednesday January 18, 2012 @ 12:18pm PST

Internet Blackout: 7,000 Sites Join Wikipedia

There’s still some life in the Hollywood-backed proposals that would empower the government to block overseas websites that traffic in pirated content. But it seems to be ebbing fast: Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Misouri), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and John Cornyn (R-Tex.) dropped off the list of likely supporters of the Protect IP Act, which is due to come up for a vote in their chamber next week. They and other lawmakers backed away on a day when websites and individual protesters coordinated their attacks on the proposal, which they say could dangerously chill Web speech and commerce. Blunt, who co-sponsored the Protect IP Act, said on Facebook that it ”is flawed as it stands today, and I cannot support it moving forward.” Rubio, another co-sponsor, also used the social networking site to say that he has “decided to withdraw my support” while urging Majority Leader Harry Reid to ”abandon his plan to rush the bill to the floor” and “come up with new legislation that addresses Internet piracy while protecting free and open access to the Internet.” Meanwhile, Cornyn co-signed a letter to Reid saying that “the process at this point is moving too quickly,” making a planned vote next week ”premature.” Meanwhile in the House Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.) withdrew as co-sponsors of a similar bill known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). That bill is due to be marked up by the House Judiciary Committee next month. Read More »

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MPAA Calls Planned Web Site Blackouts “Stunts That Punish Their Users”

The Hollywood lobby group has finally weighed in on the plan by Wikipedia and others to go dark tomorrow  to protest the MPAA-supported anti-piracy bills in Congress. The money quote is at the end: CEO Chris Dodd says he hopes that “the White House and the Congress will call on those who intend to stage this ‘blackout’ to stop the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy.” The House’s Stop Online Piracy Act and the Senate’s Protect IP Act would empower the government to block overseas sites that traffic in pirated content. The MPAA says that will save U.S. jobs. But tech companies say officials might abuse their power by using it to punish legitimate sites.

Here’s the full MPAA statement:

WASHINGTON —The following is a statement by Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) on the so-called “Blackout Day” protesting anti-piracy legislation:

“Only days after the White House and chief sponsors of the legislation responded to the major concern expressed by opponents and then called for all parties to work cooperatively together, some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging.

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Google’s Home Page Will Lobby Against Hollywood-Supported Anti-Piracy Bills

The dominant search provider won’t follow Wikipedia by going dark tomorrow. But Google will use its popular home page to cite its reasons for opposing two bills designed to thwart overseas Web sites that traffic in pirated … Read More »

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Will Wikipedia Go Dark On Wednesday To Protest Anti-Piracy Bills?

By | Monday January 16, 2012 @ 11:32am PST

The online encyclopedia says it will, making it the most prominent participant to date in a planned Wednesday protest over a Hollywood-supported effort to fight online piracy. “We have no indication that SOPA [the House's Stop Online Piracy Act] is … Read More »

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Prospects Fade For Anti-Piracy Bills As White House Joins Critics

UPDATE, 12:10 PM: Diplomacy is the order of the day for the MPAA in its response to the White House. The trade group says it’s still willing to work on a compromise. It hopes that ”the Administration’s role in this debate now will help steer the attention to what can be accomplished and passed into law to protect American jobs,” says Michael O’Leary, MPAA’s Senior Executive Vice President for Global Policy and External Affairs. He adds: “Meaningful legislation must include measured and reasonable remedies that include ad brokers, payment processors and search engines.” Failure to pass an anti-piracy law “will result in overseas websites continuing to be a safe haven for criminals stealing and profiting from America.”

PREVIOUS, 9:53 AM: An online statement today from three White House officials indicates that President Obama sides with the tech community — and against Hollywood — in opposing proposals that give the government the right to block overseas Web sites that traffic in pirated content. The administration “will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet,” Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, and Special Assistant to the President Howard Schmidt write.  Their concerns match the objections that tech companies have raised about two similar bills: the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s Protect IP Act. The trio acknowledge that piracy is a serious problem that hurts “everyone from struggling artists to production crews, and from startup social media companies to large movie studios.” But they called for new proposals that narrowly target ”sites beyond the reach of current U.S. law,” focus on criminal activity, and protect Internet intermediaries including

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NYT: Hactivists Release Big Media Moguls’ Private Info As Protest Against Anti-Piracy Bill

Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes and Viacom’s Sumner Redstone are among the honchos under attack by Anonymous — a group of so-called Internet “hacktivists” – The New York Times reports. Bewkes apparently has already been hit with threatening phone calls … Read More »

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Lawmakers Vow To Block Hollywood-Endorsed Anti-Piracy Bills

By | Wednesday January 11, 2012 @ 4:15pm PST

Sen Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Darell Issa (R-Cal.) were preaching to the choir today when they vowed at the 2012 International CES that they’ll try to blunt the Hollywood supported effort to give the government the power to block … Read More »

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MPAA’s Chris Dodd: Critics’ View Of SOPA As Censorship “Outrageous And False”

By | Tuesday December 13, 2011 @ 6:06pm PST

MPAA president Chris Dodd today lashed out at critics of SOPA and PIPA antipiracy bills who equate the proposed legislation with corporate censorship and the repressive Internet policies of foreign governments. “It’s an outrageous and false comparison,” Dodd saidRead More »

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UPDATE: 3rd Online Piracy Bill Surfaces As Hollywood Lobbying On Capitol Hill Escalates

MPAA Arranges Studio-Guild D.C. Lobbying

UPDATE, 1:50 PM: Movie studios took Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden and California Rep. Darrell Issa to task today after they unveiled draft anti-piracy legislation that could serve … Read More »

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Creative America Launches Campaign To Support Anti-Piracy Legislation

By | Wednesday December 7, 2011 @ 8:28am PST

Creative America is the coalition of Hollywood studios, networks, unions and guilds that is supporting anti-piracy legislation the Stop Online Piracy Act (in the House) and the PROTECT IP Act (in the Senate) — both bills have been hotly debated and pit content creators against online distributors (Google, etc) who … Read More »

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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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Hollywood Unites Against Content Theft Via New Coalition

By | Wednesday July 6, 2011 @ 10:21am PDT

Creative America, a grassroots initiative to unite the entertainment community in the fight against content theft, has launched today with the backing of major unions, guilds, studios and networks. Its primary goal will be to act as a gathering place … Read More »

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Senate Committee OKs PROTECT IP Act

By | Thursday May 26, 2011 @ 11:07am PDT

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PROTECT IP Act), sending the legislation to the floor for a full vote. The unanimous bipartisan action today drew swift praise from the Hollywood creative community, which has lobbied for the bill, which would target foreign-based websites that are pirating American content for profit and close loopholes that shield them from U.S. laws. The Independent Film & Television Alliance, the National Association of Theatre Owners and the MPAA released statements in support of the vote, as did a group comprised of the American Federation of Musicians, AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE, SAG and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). ”The Judiciary Committee took an important step today to stop theft and save jobs,” said Michael O’Leary, the MPAA’s EVP Government Affairs. “By helping shut down rogue websites that profit from stolen films, television shows, and other counterfeit goods, this legislation will protect wages and benefits for the millions of middle class workers who bring America’s creativity to life.” Read More »

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U.S. Senators Introduce Anti-Piracy Law To Fight Foreign Websites That Steal Content

Under normal circumstances in these trying times in Hollywood, the indies feel frozen out by the majors, and the exhibitors have big beefs with the studios, too. Yet here they are today united because of proposed federal legislation. A bipartisan coalition of several U.S. Senators — Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Chuck Schumer (D-New York), Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin), Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) — introduced and/or are sponsoring the Protect IP Bill, which aims to fight online infringement and counterfeiting by deterring, preventing, and rooting out websites that profit from trafficking in stolen content. Uniting in support of the bill are the major studios’ lobbying group the MPAA, The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO).

According to the MPAA, the PROTECT IP Act targets foreign websites:

Formerly operating outside the realm of U.S. law, they would no longer be allowed to exploit U.S. registrars, registries, Internet service providers, payment processors, search engines and ad placement services to sustain their illicit online businesses. Internet sites that steal and distribute American intellectual property are often foreign-owned and operated, or reside at domain names that are not registered through a U.S.-based registry or registrar, setting them outside the scope of U.S. law enforcement.

Read More »

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