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New MPAA Head Addresses Piracy

29 Mar, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

Chris Dodd

In his inaugural state of the industry speech March 29, Chris Dodd, the new CEO and chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, or MPAA, told members of the National Association of Theatre Owners, or NATO, that piracy remains “the single biggest threat we face as an industry.”

“I am deeply concerned that too many people see movie theft as a victimless crime,” Dodd said, according to prepared remarks delivered at NATO’s CinemaCon event in Las Vegas. “After all, how much economic damage could there be to some rich studio executive or Hollywood star if a movie is stolen or someone watches a film that was stolen? It is critical that we aggressively educate people to understand that movie theft is not just a Hollywood problem. It is an American problem.”

He said those who steal movies fail to recognize that nearly 2.5 million people work in the film industry, including “middle-class folks, working hard behind the scenes to provide for their families, saving for college and retirement.”

“Those who steal movies and TV shows, or who knowingly support those who do, don’t see the faces of the camera assistant, seamstresses, electricians, construction workers, drivers, and small business owners and their employees who are among the thousands essential to moviemaking,” he said. “They don’t see the teenager working their first job taking tickets at the local theater, or the video rental store employees working hard to support their families.”

Dodd called for stronger laws to protect intellectual property and better education regarding the effect of piracy. He said Congress must take a stronger stance against websites that traffic in illegal content.

“When you return to your states, invite your local governor, state legislator, congressman and senator to your theater and fill it with those who work with you along with video store employees and their families,” he said. “Tell them about the importance of these issues to you and to your communities.”

During his speech Dodd also noted that $1 in $5 spent at the box office today comes from 3D presentations and that the number of digital and 3D screens more than doubled in 2010.

“I can’t help but wonder what Cecile B. DeMille, Sam Goldwyn, Louis B. Mayer, Jesse Lasky and Adolph Zucker and the rest of these pioneers would say if they could have been among the millions of moviegoers who marvel at the experience of seeing Avatar in a 3D theater,” he said. “And like moviegoers here at home and all over the world, I can’t wait, nor can you, I expect, to see what we come up with next.”

Dodd, a former U.S. senator (D-Conn.), took over the MPAA role from interim CEO Bob Pisano March 17.

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