Friday, November 21, 2014

2014 Global IP Summit - Senator Chris Dodd Spoke about Piracy and Motion Pictures

At Tuesday’s Global IP Summit former US Senator and current Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Chris Dodd gave an important speech on the positive impact strong IP rights have for the motion picture industry. Some of the key impacts Senator Dodd mentioned were:
  • Online consumers legally accessed more than 5.7 billion films and 56 billion television episodes in 2013 alone. 
  • Over 1.9 million people are employed by the American film and television industry. 
  • There was $120 billion in sales and $16.2 billion in worldwide exports in 2012 alone.
Despite the billions of dollars in sales and exports, theft of IP, specifically online piracy, is a very serious problem for movie producers and distributors. (See this blog from the summer about “The Expendables 3.”) Senator Dodd cited a Digital Citizens Alliance report which concluded that ad-supported piracy generates $227 million annually. This astonishing number should reinforce the idea that even stronger IP rights and more effective enforcement regimes could benefit the motion picture industry as well as other segments of the American economy that produce creative content, such as musicians and recording companies. Senator Dodd then went on to say something powerful: 

Indeed, one of the Internet’s greatest strengths is that it is not a centralized network. No single entity, government, corporation or individuals controls it. But, conversely, no single entity can solve its problems. That is why it is vital for responsible actors, to work together to reach commercially reasonable and technically feasible solutions if we are going to reduce piracy, and stimulate innovation.
This is why Senator Dodd promoted MPAA’s new search engine for legal content, (See my blog from last week.) He called it a “one-stop shop, connecting users directly to [more than 100] legal content sites.” Although the serious problem of harmful online piracy may still remain and needs to be combatted, should help reduce piracy by organizing legal content and placing it at the fingertips of Internet users.
MPAA is also exploring other voluntary initiatives that would warn Internet users when they have downloaded illegal content and then direct them towards legal content websites. MPAA is certainly doing its part in trying to diminish online piracy and help secure stronger IP rights. A robust system of IP rights is vital for encouraging more content, innovation, creativity, and economic growth because it allows entrepreneurs and artists to realize the returns from their labors.