Delivering his inaugural speech as CEO and Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to movie industry trade show CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Senator Chris Dodd has warned that piracy is the “single biggest threat we face as an industry.”
Just nine days into his new role, he told delegates that the production and exhibition industries did “a fantastic job of providing the American people and others all over the world with quality entertainment,” but suggested they must do a much better job of educating audiences and the American people about how they did their job.
“Let’s begin with perhaps the single biggest threat we face as an industry: movie theft. At the outset, I want you to know that I recognise and appreciate that NATO [National Association of Theater Owners] members are on the front lines every day when it comes to preventing camcording,” he said. “Further, I want you to know that the member studios of the MPAA deeply appreciate the efforts you make every day to stop the haemorrhaging of movie theft in your theatres.”
Dodd said he was “deeply concerned” that too many people see movie theft as a victimless crime. “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 stated.
Noting that nearly 2.5 million people work in the film industry, he suggested that the success of the movie and TV business didn’t just benefit the names on theatre marquees. “It also affects all the names in the closing credits and so many more –middle class folks, working hard behind the scenes to provide for their families, saving for college and retirement,” he warned.
“We must continue to work together, pushing for stronger laws to protect intellectual property and more meaningful enforcement of those laws,” he declared. “We must also educate parents and students and everyone else about the real world impact of movie theft on jobs and on local tax revenues, and on our ability to make the kinds of movies and TV shows people wish to see.“
He was confident that the industry could work together to ask Congress and others to protect intellectual property by cracking down on rogue websites that profit from the illegal trafficking of counterfeit movies. “After all, you are not just our eyes and ears when it comes to illegal camcording – you are the face of the film industry in your local communities. No one is in a better position to educate the American public about these threats than are you,” he told delegates.