Motion Picture Association (MPA) Chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd used his keynote speech at the CineEurope event in Amsterdam to remind exhibitors about the strong ties that bind motion picture studios and theatre owners, and their shared commitment to strengthening the motion picture industry by stopping pervasive movie theft and driving innovation to meet consumer demand. He applauded initiatives in certain European member states to combat piracy.
“The production and exhibition industries cannot succeed — they cannot survive — without each other,” said Dodd. “After all, the movies we make are made for the cinema. And our futures are inextricably intertwined.”
Recognising the need to communicate effectively the real damage inflicted by theft, Dodd noted that “too many people think that movie theft is a victimless crime…but the real victims of movie theft are the camera assistants and construction workers, the electricians and the ticket-takers, the working men and women whose names don’t appear on the marquee, but whose livelihoods in countries throughout the world depend on this industry for their economic security.”
He said the industry’s challenge was “at once simultaneously to educate, to innovate, and to discourage illegality. We need a holistic approach that is balanced, one that respects individual rights and freedoms, and one that includes all the members of the film community, adding that this was “no time for philosophising,” and with content being stolen everyday all over the world, governments should take a hardline approach to the suppliers of illegal content.
Dodd praised France’s controversial ‘three-strikes’ rule, which cuts off Internet access for users who repeatedly download material illegally. “They are leading the way with this courageous, comprehensive new law,” said Dodd. He also noted similar tactics across Europe, including new anti-piracy legislation in Spain pending laws in Italy and the recent German-led raid earlier this month that shut down notorious piracy site kino.to.
Dodd’s comments came as the movie industry stepped up its efforts to crack down on copyright theft in Europe, with its suit against telco BT, the UK’s largest ISP. The MPA is attempting to force BT to block its customers’ access to Newzbin, an offshore site the MPA accuses of being of one of Europe’s largest piracy sites.