Tag Archives: Chris Dodd

If the TPP is Enacted, Hollywood Takes a Giant Leap Towards Throwing You in Prison for File Sharing, Even for Noncommercial Uses

MPAA Prez Chris Dodd. Still terrible.

MPAA Prez Chris Dodd. Still terrible.

by Legendary Lew

Leave it to MPAA head Chris Dodd to back a multi-national trade agreement, The Trans-Pacific Partnership, that will, according to its critics, trash the very legislation that bears his name.

But, hey, if you want to be a Hollywood whore, you do what your pimps want–and with the TPP, the Hollywood studio Macks demand two things: Dodd puts on the ho heels and anyone file sharing goes to jail.

The current language of the TPP, as leaked by Wikileaks (who would, btw, be in some major legal trouble through the same agreement) is so loose and ambiguous, you’d have to think twice about sampling music, creating award-nominated re-edits (recognized by Hollywood!) or even posting that cute video of your grandma dancing to “All About That Bass:”

She is pretty good.

Anyway, the language in the TPP portion released by Wikileaks allows for governments in the trade agreement to impose:

penalties that include sentences of imprisonment as well as monetary fines sufficiently high to provide a deterrent to future acts of infringement, consistently with the level of penalties applied for crimes of a corresponding gravity

So what’ya say we throw you in jail for 10 years and fine you $1 million? Not enough of “a deterrent?” How about a trillion?

The draconian language of this provision is, of course, its virtual guarantee that the enforcement is going to be virtually impossible without imprisoning a shitload of people, so I have a proposal of my own.

Hollywood, if you want this deal, I want to back you up by arresting and imprisoning every single exec and producer who’s stolen ideas. Let’s start clearing them out.

Michael Bay, we’ve got a jail cell for you. Kevin Tsujihara, head of Warner Brothers, one of your execs said piracy was not a big deal. You’re a collaborator, we can send you to prison also. Adam Sandler, there’s a wing in a penitentiary going to be named after you.

It’s time to give up the fantasy that Hollywood offers any clear and personal connection to you. I love movies, but I detest the current corporate system that creates blockbusters as “deals” and then involves itself in international politics that trample on individual rights.

It’s just one more reason why my movie choices are becoming more independent and local.

If you oppose the TPP, you should contact your representative and senator right now.  A vote in Congress is imminent.




Internet Hater Chris Dodd Wants Technology to Help Boost Sagging Theater Attendance


by Legendary Lew

Variety reports that last year, attendance for the 18-24 year-old age bracket in movie theaters dropped like a stone. It’s serious because, you know, everyone else is dead and will never benefit from films aimed toward them:

The number of frequent moviegoers in the all-important 18-24 age group plunged an unprecedented 21% in 2013, according to MPAA annual statistics released Tuesday at Cinemacon, while attendance in the 12-17 age bracket also saw a precipitous drop off, falling almost 15%.

Frequent filmgoers from 12-24 are likely spending much of their previous moviegoing time watching a variety of other screens.

Well, heavens to Betsy, whatever shall a bloated, non-innovative, money-wasting, inefficient, money-gouging, hypocritical corporate entity do?!

I know! Call in MPAA head Chris Dodd to give the industry a pep talk:

“We need to keep exploring fresh ways of leveraging our new technology to drive traffic to your theaters,” Dodd insisted during his keynote address delivered Tuesday at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

“We can embrace technology, and use it to complement our offerings,” Dodd added.

I practically shat blood laughing so hard when reading these statements. This is the same Chris Dodd that backed the SOPA and PIPA legislations–so much so that he extorted the White House to try and have its support. SOPA and PIPA would have destroyed the internet as we know it with opposition to the legislation coming from internet companies that regularly help Hollywood promote its films. The public response to Dodd and SOPA/PIPA supporters was a whole lot of this.

It’s also the same Chris Dodd that supported the arrest of Kim Dotcom, only to have the case against him implode over embarrassing allegations, not the least of which was Dotcom’s assertion that he was ready to start a legally-created IPO with MegaUpload. (Dotcom’s new company, Mega, has since created an IPO in New Zealand)

Now, Dodd wants to urge the industry to use technology, i.e the internet, to boost theater tix sales.  Never mind that he tried to explode it a couple of years ago and will, no doubt, try again, unless Dodd has some other new type of technology he wants to introduce to the world.  Oh wait, I forgot, Hollywood doesn’t have one.

Next time Chris Dodd gives a speech, I suggest this type of formal attire.



Mitt Romney Quickly Dumps Stock of Chinese Online Company Accused of Piracy

From BuzzFeed comes the news that, until recently, Mitt Romney should have been talking like a pirate on Sept. 19:

Mitt Romney’s recently released tax returns show the governor recently sold off investments in the Chinese online-video company Youku, a Chinese version of YouTube. The site was launched in 2006 and quickly became a haven for downloading illegal American content. The site has been trying to repair its image as a piracy portal since lawsuits have caused them to remove unauthorized content”

Oops!  Looks like it’s another Mittstake. He’s going to need a ledger to keep track of them all. Anyone out there in his 1% donor clan with Excel experience?

Do you think he sneaked out of Kim Dotcom’s mansion just before the MPAA Chris Dodd authorities invaded?

As expected, he then accused the Obama Administration of catering to Chinese pirates:

“Did you know they even have an Apple store?” Romney said at a rally. “It’s a fake Apple store; they sell counterfeit Apple products. This is wrong. We’re gonna crack down on China when they manipulate their currency, when they steal our goods, when they don’t protect our intellectual property. We’re gonna make sure that China understands we mean business.”

I’m guessing he means their business.


Copyright Chaos: Pirate Bay Co-Founder Arrested as Troma Entertainment Releases a Library of Films for Free

If you want proof of the current fucked up state of copyright enforcement, you needn’t look further than a couple of headlines from the past week.

Pirate Bay co-founder, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, was arrested in Cambodia with the reporting from Murdoch-owned assrag The Wall Street Journal using words like “mastermind” and “notorious” to send the boogeyman shivers down your spine. The actual crime that Warg committed, of course, is helping develop a platform on which individuals can share files and get the word out about movies and music that you may never otherwise hear about.  That’s why super rich ABBA founder Bjorn Ulvaeus can be pissed off about sharing files while struggling indie musicians depend on it for exposure.  And since the CEO of Universal Music just admitted that he doesn’t create art, that puts Bjorn, creator of soulless music in the company of a soulless music exec. Won’t help you much in the court of public opinion, guys.

Meanwhile, Troma, a film company in existence for over 3 decades, announced it has released 150 films on YouTube for free, including their signature flick The Toxic Avenger. Can you imagine a major Hollywood studio announcing they would release hundreds of classic movies online for free?

Or can you imagine them forcing Congress to pass a law allowing movie copyrights to be held for “death+70 years” and chase after people who could actually help those movies gain new audiences?


MPAA’s Chris Dodd to Personally Lobby His Buddies for Anti-Piracy Bills in Congress Beginning 1/2013

Chris Dodd imagining a beautiful world where he runs the Internet

Kevin Collier at The Daily Dot picks up on something Chris Dodd said a few days ago in discussing SOPA and other related anti-piracy legislation:

“I can’t say anything to them (Congress) about this for another seven months, but I think my colleagues understand how important this is,” he said in an interview with Variety.

Dodd has to wait because of legislation passed requiring him, as a former Senator, to wait until a full two years after leaving office to lobby anyone in Congress.

Does the phrase “my colleagues” refer to others in the MPAA or to his former co-horts on Capitol Hill? I wonder.

Now that the internet has the early word that he’s going to pull this stunt and try more anti-piracy legislation–albeit a “gentler” sounding variety–I’m sure he’ll be countered. Keep people informed and join organizations like Fight for the Future to help stop future attacks.

MPAA Undercuts Its Own Message: Piracy is Not Theft

Uh oh, Chris Dodd just clued us in on what the new strategy is for fighting piracy: don’t say it’s thievery.

He knows that the campaigns of passing laws like SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and CISPA have all gone over like lead balloons. Perhaps he doesn’t want to believe that file sharing doesn’t hurt the studios’ bottom lines, but the numbers don’t lie.

So what to do? Rebrand. But how do you do that when you’ve been pushing the copier-as-thief meme for over two decades? It’s going to be tough to counter your sworn arch-enemies by saying they are perhaps just a little bit right, no matter what sort of covert PR campaign you’re planning next. Somehow, I don’t think that approach is going to help avoid an eventual lawsuit and further embarrassment if Kim Dotcom doesn’t go to trial.

Honestly, I think Chris Dodd’s days as head of the MPAA are numbered.

MPAA Responds to Criticism by Putting Its Other Foot in Its Mouth

Does the MPAA understand how big a hole they’re digging for themselves when they don’t or can’t respond to criticism with any understanding of how they are hurting the film industry?

Torrent Freak wrote about the MPAA’s response to a previous criticism touting they did not even know Hollywood history.  In short, Thomas Edison formed the Motion Picture Patents Company to protect his copyrights. William Fox and other film company founders headed out west to a place called Hollywood to avoid the group and pirated movies at a profit.

Copyhype somewhat “countered” this charge with the statement that seems to suggest that the thought of heading out west to pirate films was a “little bit of historical revisionism.”

But consider this paragraph that Copyhype said was the real issue with MPCC:

The independents weren’t infringing on any patents themselves, they were violating the license and tie-in agreements that came with the MPPC’s equipment. The MPPC did enjoy some early success with its litigation efforts,  convincing several courts that illegal restraint of trade was not a defense to patent infringement.4

But the MPPC didn’t rely solely on the law — Edison enforced the Trust’s domination with violence. Hired thugs would smash cameras and raid the independents’ places of business.5 Historian Thaddeus Rockwell notes the extent of the violence perpetuated by the Trust: “They seized film, beat up directors and actors, forced audiences out of theaters, smashed the nickelodeon arcades and set fire to entire city blocks where they were concentrated.”  (bold emphasis mine)

Ah, so it wasn’t films that were pirated but equipment. That certainly makes a difference in the scheme of things doesn’t it? Honestly, do you think that the potential of thugs coming to beat up filmmakers and actors because of pirated equipment wasn’t used as a deterrent to independent filmmaking?

California courts eventually ruled that the Patents Company’s licensing practices presented “a potential power of evil” over indie movie producers and ruled against them.

Isn’t this turning out to become the pattern with Kim Dotcom? Seize his property and assets only to find a court rules against the FBI and he may not even go to trial now?

Dodd and company can’t see the irony right before their eyes.

Requirement: MPAA Bosses Should Know the History of the Birth of Hollywood

Every time Chris Dodd tries to slam movie piracy, he seems to put his foot in it. Here’s the latest example discovered by the great site TorrentFreak:

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

Many of you are familiar with how the name Hollywood became synonymous with the birth of the American film industry. It was in Jacob Stern’s horse barn, at the corner of Hollywood and Vine, the story goes, that Cecil B. DeMille screened the first full length feature film 100 years ago.

Well, when it comes to the tech sector, replace “Jacob Stern’s horse barn” with “Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room” at Harvard, and you have almost the same story with the birth of Facebook.

In these and countless other examples throughout our history, the ability to give birth to an idea and convert it into economic success, whether it is the content of a film or the technology of the internet, depends on copyright and patent protection

He spoke these words at CinemaCon, which touts itself as the Official Convention of The National Association of Theatre Owners.  I honestly have to believe that there were owners out there in the audience who know Hollywood’s early history better than Chris Dodd does.

Somebody there had to know that William “20th Century” Fox and others got their starts far away from The Motion Picture Patents Company, which was created by hypocrite Thomas Edison to protect his movies from piracy. The best way to avoid Edison’s grip was to move to Hollywood and start operations there. These “pirates”, which we now refer to as studio heads, got some help from district courts unwilling to enforce patents laws in their districts.

Of course, Chris Dodd is going to perpetuate the lie as best he can given that his resume has not one ounce of experience in the motion picture industry before he took over as head of the MPAA. SOPA, PIPA , ACTA and CISPA are all being crapped on as overreaches, and now the big fish, Kim Dotcom, may never even go to trial. At this point, his disastrous leadership may be the best thing that ever happened to piracy.

Why Am I Not Hearing More About Kim Dotcom?

Back in January this year, you could not get near your TV or computer screen without seeing a report like this:

The arrest of Megaupload founder, Kim Dotcom, was the big fish for the US government and the record and film industries, who, after the SOPA/PIPA disaster, needed to show everyone they meant business. The RIAA and MPAA claim that the industry and artists are hurting and this guy was a major cause of it all. Hauled before cameras like a caught drug kingpin, Kim Dotcom previously had an appearance in an anti-piracy video that made him look like the actual living personification of Dr. Evil and Fat Bastard rolled into one.

The details of his capture became a separate news item. Hiding in secret rooms armed with a shotgun, the authorities closed in with the threat of a major stand-off looming. Once apprehended, the Dotcom lavish lifestyle with babes, guns and a mansion with multiple cars came to the fore. Immediately after Megaupload went down, other sites changed drastically or even voluntarily shut down.

Yes, Kim Dotcom was the BFD set up to be the image of piracy evil that continuously eluded those who ran The Pirate Bay (but not for the authorities lack of trying). The stage was set for daily “breaking news” smackdowns of the horrible excesses of Dotcom and how he was destroying entertainment, especially the movie industry.

Well? What the hell happened? I’m waiting.

I’m waiting for the 24 hour coverage that Megaupload contained perhaps millions of legal files placed there by customers who are not pirating and who may lose those files through no fault of their own when the government decides to destroy them. Where’s the extensive coverage of why authorities seized Dotcom’s property with a bogus court order and then tried to correct it after the raid detailing the new order with the items seized?

Mainstream media: has this report showing that piracy over the last ten years actually contributed to higher profits for all media sectors escaped you? If you want to accept Hollywood’s stats as reason to go after pirates, don’t you want to look at a detailed opposing view? And what of Dotcom’s claims that numerous US government officials had files stored in Megaupload along with over 15,000 accounts from the US Military? If these claims are true, does this mean that the government will have to sue itself or haul veterans of two wars into court for copying some movies and music? I would love to be present in the room when industry lawyers try to explain to an Iraq War soldier who had his arm blown off he’s going to be sued for downloading Katy Perry.

Maybe the government has a case against a site that was the 13th highest ranking site on the internet with 50,000,000 visitors daily. Perhaps the feds have one, even if Dotcom was ready to set up a very public IPO with the help and blessing of financial firms.

If they do, you would think they would leak something by now. Kim Dotcom and his new legal team has come up with something embarrassing to the prosecution’s case practically every week. And this doesn’t even include other factors outside the case, such as the RIAA admitting that the industry’s own innovation could stop piracy and Google’s co-founder, Sergey Brin, telling Hollywood that its anti-piracy efforts are self-defeating.

If Dotcom’s claims are accurate, this is going to be a long legal headache for the government and the FBI. MPAA President Chris Dodd will have to come up with authentic footage of Kim Dotcom eating puppies alive for breakfast or some other such abomination.

I mean, something would have to replace the footage of the FBI raid on the Dotcom mansion that disappeared while in police possession.

For Your Inconsideration: Why Oscar Lost Me (and It Hasn’t Anything to Do with the Nominees)

F**k the Oscars!

Once again, it’s time for that yearly ritual in which film fans root for the movies and actors that won’t win their expected awards. Parties will be held with fans who’ll argue/commiserate about botched voting and even worse presentations, speeches, fashions, music numbers and lousy jokes. We fans have lived through these year in and year out and still come back for more.

There’s a complicity we have with the film industry. We love the spectacle, so we’ll put up with yearly self-congratulatory nonsense because we care about the art of filmmaking. Make no mistake about it: the Oscars are all about giving the industry golden pleasure. The Academy, in service to the industry, infuriates many by not taking major chances while at the same time soothing us with montages of great films and figures of years past. Tugging at our sense of the nostalgic times we at least perceived films to have been better always gets us and makes us hope that next year will be different.

But I’ve had it with this deceitful  game. Why? Because in this past year, the film industry became especially aggressive with MPAA head Chris Dodd going on the warpath against “piracy, ” just short of claiming it was causing the whole film world to come crashing down.

All we have to do to appease Chris Dodd and the film studios are to:

1.  Censor and break the internet

The MPAA thought it was going to be a piece of cake to get SOPA and PIPA passed through a paid-off Congress and a sleeping public. Thankfully, Dodd got his ass kicked when web-wide sign off filled the pants and panties of former legislative supporters. Oh, and keep in mind–this legislation Dodd wants is modeled after China’s model of censorship, which he longs for.

2.   Accept his lies about how film industries have been destroyed or at least suffering badly

Dodd embarrassed himself when he publicly stated that the film industries of Spain, Egypt and Sweden are gone.  Sweden, of course, released two of the most popular foreign films in years: Let the Right One In and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  If Spain were hurting, the film world would be abuzz with the unemployment of Pedro Almodovar and Alex De La Iglesia.  Dodd can’t even lie convincingly with Egypt, which just went through a revolution.

Revenues for movie studios have almost doubled between 1998 and 2010. So much for the horrible toll piracy has on making money. Perhaps it’s a money management/distribution problem. Would you like the government to handle those for the movie studios, Mr. Dodd?

3. Turn over your personal property to authorities

Picture this: you live in an apartment building. Your landlord is on another floor. The FBI believes your landlord is a major thief, so they raid and confiscate all his property and all the legally owned belongings of yours and your neighbors. Then, the authorities decide to destroy everything.

That, in a nutshell, is kinda what happened when authorities seized and shut down Megaupload recently. Oh, the film industry was so happy about finally getting Kim Dotcom arrested and forcing Megaupload out of business.  From the news coverage, you would have thought a major drug bust was made. However, the dicks went limp for these roosters when it was learned that millions of legal files owned by various consumers were seized and threatened with destruction. Now there’s a call for a class action lawsuit against the FBI.

4.  Accept his bribes and do his bidding

Just watch. 30 years as a Senator taught him well:

Or read.

There’s more, but I think you get the idea. The film studios are not satisfied with the stringent piracy laws already in place, so they would rather lazily have the US government get involved, using cash they could be using on innovation they ignore.  Meanwhile, talented indie producers/directors can’t get decent deals that pay them properly for their work, leading them to realize that sending their films via torrents would actually, in the long run, give them better exposure than through traditional channels. Just ask Heather Ferreira.

So screw the Oscars! I don’t want to celebrate the accomplishments of an industry that has its greedy head up its ass. Stars or no stars.