Hollywood, Silicon Valley need unity, leader says

April 24, 2012 By CRISTINA SILVA , Associated Press

(AP) -- Chris Dodd, the head of the Motion Picture Association of America, said Tuesday that Hollywood and Silicon Valley must work together to protect intellectual property.

Silicon Valley has likely succeeded in killing anti-piracy legislation at least until after the 2012 elections, said Dodd, whose remarks came at CinemaCon, a Las Vegas convention for theater owners.

Instead, reform must come by improving Hollywood's relationship with by stressing the havoc pirated films can wreak on consumers, creative leaders and the many blue-collar workers who make up the , Dodd said.

"Content needs technology, technology needs content, and the idea that somehow there is a loser in all of this, it's beyond my imagination why people are insisting on that," Dodd said.

A massive campaign by Web giants and and their millions of users saw Congress indefinitely postpone legislation in January to stop online piracy of movies and music costing U.S. companies billions of dollars each year. The move was largely seen as a victory for Silicon Valley over Hollywood.

The two bills sought to allow the Justice Department and copyright holders to seek court orders against foreign websites accused of . They also would forbid search engines from linking to such sites.

Opponents said the reforms would result in and stifle innovation.

The MPAA, which represents the major film studios, has been a leading advocate for anti-piracy legislation. Dodd joined the MPAA last year after representing Connecticut in the U.S. Senate for 30 years.

In Las Vegas, Dodd said the number of illegal videos taken of movies in theaters declined by 50 percent since 2007, but noted that consumers in the U.S. and Canada need constant incentives to see films on the big screen and not in the comfort of their homes.

"One third of the public in the U.S. and in Canada no longer goes to the movies," he said. "We need to bring them back."

Dodd said proponents of anti-piracy legislation should have done a better job of talking about the consequences of copyright fraud, such as identify theft.

"The truth is that neither the content nor the technology industries could survive without strong protections for intellectual property," he said.

The film industry needs to stress the commonalities between tech-savvy consumers and studios that want to protect their products, Dodd said. He claimed people with multiple gadgets on average go to theatrical productions more than once a month, compared with average consumers, who go fewer than four times a year.

"People with technology love access to content and going to that theatrical experience, with that surround sound and big screen, it's another gadget in a way," Dodd said.

John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, said anti-piracy laws in the U.S. and incentive programs encouraging theater employees to combat bootleggers helped reduce domestic movie pirating. But that means the market has shifted to countries where the rules aren't as strict, such as Russia and Mexico.

"There are millions and millions of jobs at stake," Fithian said.

To lure in consumers, some theater owners are experimenting with variable pricing that would allow them to sell more expensive tickets to new releases and then lower the price once the film has been out for many weeks, Fithian said.

Even so, going to the movies remains one of the nation's most affordable pastimes, especially compared to professional sports games, Fithian said.

"It's possible that 2012 may be the year where we all work together to grow the pie instead of fighting over the pieces," he said.

Explore further: Web giants, film companies at odds over anti-piracy bills


Related Stories

Web giants, film companies at odds over anti-piracy bills

December 7, 2011

Film director Penelope Spheeris' new comedy, "Balls to the Wall," had barely premiered in Europe when bootleg copies started popping up on the Internet, throwing its U.S. release into jeopardy. A Spheeris assistant sent out ...

Hollywood, Silicon Valley face off over piracy bill

January 18, 2012

US congressional support for legislation targeting online piracy was eroding Wednesday as Wikipedia and Google led an online onslaught and branded the bills a danger to Internet freedom.

Protest exposes Silicon Valley-Hollywood rivalry

January 18, 2012

In a move that heightens the growing tension between Silicon Valley and Hollywood, Wikipedia and other websites went dark Wednesday in protest of two congressional proposals intended to thwart the online piracy of copyrighted ...

Judge tells Zediva to stop web streaming of movies

August 2, 2011

(AP) -- A federal judge in Los Angeles issued a preliminary injunction favoring the Motion Picture Association of America in its copyright infringement lawsuit against video-streaming startup Zediva.

Hollywood v Silicon Valley in US piracy battle

January 21, 2012

The anti-piracy battle gripping Washington and the Internet pits two US West Coast power bases directly against each other: Hollywood is taking on Silicon Valley over the right to make money online.

Recommended for you

What do you get when you cross an airplane with a submarine?

February 15, 2018

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed the first unmanned, fixed-wing aircraft that is capable of traveling both through the air and under the water – transitioning repeatedly between sky and sea. ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2012
Having a large number of employees is not a good enough reason to guarantee the survival of a business, especially at the cost of Internet freedom. Who do they think they are?! Hollywood's business model is outdated. And is becoming obsolete more rapidly by the day. They need to wake up and change or they will fail.
not rated yet Apr 25, 2012
Copyright for 95 years is just ludicrous, and all to protect The Mouse and his income. Now they want to cripple our computers.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.