WASHINGTON — Motion Picture Association of American chairman Chris Dodd was in Northern California last Tuesday night (Oct. 2), holding out an olive branch to Silicon Valley technology companies after their bruising battle with his movie-industry constituents over piracy legislation.
In a conversation at the Commonwealth Club of California, according to prepared remarks, Dodd — who was shocked by the crushing defeat of legislation he favored earlier this year — said he wanted to talk about where studios and the tech industry can go together.
He pointed out that all of the studios the MPAA represents have content deals with Internet giant Google, which led the opposition to the MPAA-backed Stop Online Protection Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA), anti-piracy legislation that was eventually scrapped.
“We call them audiences, you call them users, but giving them the best possible experience is a shared goal,” Dodd said. “In the end, we all report to the same people. I want you to know that our community is listening, continuously innovating, and hungry for more. And we know we can’t do this without the work of the brilliant and creative technological minds behind these new devices, Internet platforms, and other digital outlets.”
Dodd was speaking at an event titled “Creative Content and the Cloud.” He said studios were excited by the prospect of letting audiences store TV shows and movies in the cloud and pull them down to any screen they choose.
He said a good example of the value of cooperation was UltraViolet, a content/tech joint effort to move programming around platforms — with consumers paying only once.
Dodd also suggested it was important to bury the digital hatchet and work together to enable seamless content sharing. “We have to break through the notion that this is a zerosum game,” he said. “We both benefit from each other’s success.”
New anti-piracy legislative proposals are sure to resurface in the next Congress.
Meanwhile, the MPAA is said to be adding an executive to help with social media. Although that would be a natural move for any association, one of the fronts where the MPAA got hit hard during the SOPA/PIPA battle was online pushback. Most notable was the Jan. 18 “SOPA Blackout,” when a number of major websites went dark to protest the bills.
And foes of SOPA and PIPA foes are preparing for future fights. In July, some of those groups formed the Internet Defense League (IDL), a digital version of the “bat signal,” used to alert Batman of trouble in Gotham. The IDL describes itself as “thousands of websites, groups, and individuals who can immediately respond to threats to the Internet.”
Hollywood’s “kumbaya” moment with Silicon Valley could be the calm before another anti-piracy bill storm.