MPAA’s Dodd: Content, technology communities partners, not adversaries

Following earlier speeches which suggested that both the creative and technology communities, must work together to find a shared solution to movie piracy, Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has reiterated his call for co-operation.

Writing on website politico.com following a discussion at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on the shared future of the entertainment and technology industries, Dodd noted that the discussion focused on innovating business models, innovating content and innovating how we seamlessly deliver that content to audiences how and where they want it.

“If there is one key point I hope the audience left with, it’s this: Despite what the media and the advocates on the extremes would have you believe, the the content and technology communities are not adversaries, we’re partners,” he wrote. “Our companies call them audiences and tech companies call them users, but giving consumers the best possible experience is our shared goal. In the end, we all report to the same people: consumers.”

He said that both shared a commitment to innovation. “Developing fresh and interesting content, and new platforms for seamlessly delivering that content to audiences, is the lifeblood of both of our industries. That’s why Hollywood is partnering with Silicon Valley and others – from YouTube to Facebook to Netflix to Roku – to deliver our great content to screens of all sizes. In fact, every one of the studios that I represent at the Motion Picture Association of America has a distribution deal with Google. Partnerships with these tech companies are only growing. There are currently more than 350 unique, licensed online services that provide motion picture content to viewers around the world, including more than 60 in the US alone.”

He drew attention to the role of digital locker ecosystem UltraViolet, which he said was the result of a coordinated effort between dozens of content and tech companies “because all of these companies understand that it is in the best interest of their customers to ensure that people do not have to buy multiple forms of movies or shows. Collaborative tools like UltraViolet are an important reminder that our industries also share a common interest in protecting an Internet that works for everyone – and that means protecting intellectual property so that the Internet remains a place where creativity and innovation are rewarded, not stolen.”

He said that no one wanted to relive the “polarising” debate of the previous winter over legislation that was meant to help curb online piracy. “But intellectual property protection is important and needs to be discussed without heated rhetoric or raised voices,” he said, accepting in his speech a share of responsibility for some of that in the past. “It’s important to the entertainment community, the tech community and the American economy — and to our audience. On the presidential campaign trail recently, we’ve seen both President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney recognise the importance of protecting America’s competitiveness by protecting our intellectual property,” he noted.

“The tech community will be integral to helping solve this problem. It’s going to require co-operation and voluntary best practices from all interested parties. We saw some of that earlier this summer when Google altered its algorithm to de-emphasise pirated content. That was an important step because it recognises the problem, and it recognises Google’s ability to do something about it. It was not a silver bullet, and there’s much more to be done — but it was a good acknowledgement from Google that content theft is a problem and one that can be tackled,” he admitted.

“Our industries are critical partners in an ever-evolving and innovating economy. We look forward to continuing to work together to develop meaningful solutions that protect American creators and protect an Internet that works for everyone,” he concluded.

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