U.S. Government Identifies Most Notorious Piracy Markets

by Senator Chris Dodd 02/12/2014 11:04 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative today released a report naming the most “notorious markets” for piracy around the globe, both online and in physical locations.  For the many millions of men and women worldwide who are engaged in creative industries like film, TV, music and publishing, this is important news.  Identifying the source of the problem is a crucial step in reaching real solutions that will help foster commercial enterprises like the more than 400 online sites for viewing legitimate movies and TV shows that are now available in nations around the world. 

The notorious markets identified in today’s report include peer-to-peer networks, Bit Torrent portals, infringing download and streaming hubs, linking websites and newsgroups. Not only are they responsible for significant financial loss to creators and rights holders, but by denying them the ability to be compensated for their work, they also undermine the ability of creators to innovate and take risks.

Here in the United States alone, there are nearly 2 million workers whose jobs depend on the movie and television industry, earning over $104 billion in total wages.  For these workers and their families, piracy can mean declining incomes, lost jobs and reduced health and retirement benefits.

The MPAA supports the USTR’s efforts and greatly appreciates its interest in combating content theft. And while the USTR is an American government agency, the sites detailed in this report also pose major threats to filmmakers and other creative industries worldwide. It is my hope that publication of this report will encourage government officials and private industries across the globe to work together to curb the growth of piracy.

Award Season Isn't Just About Red Carpets

by Senator Chris Dodd 01/14/2014 11:56 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

The 2014 awards season got off to a rousing and hilarious start Sunday night as more than 20 million viewers tuned in to watch Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host the Annual Golden Globes Awards for the second year in a row and gave the show its highest ratings of the past decade.

Just as they will do with every awards show in the coming weeks, the fashion experts critiqued the fashion choices of our favorite celebrities walking the red carpet; pundits and industry experts gave their two-cents on which movies, TV shows, and actors would win in each category; and for three hours we all joined together to celebrate another great year for a truly remarkable industry.

Not to be outdone by all those looking to have some fun with this year’s awards, The MPAA has once again partnered with Brandwatch to build on the success of last year’s Social Oscars program.  Last year's tool, hosted on the MPAA's content site TheCredits.Org, collected and analyzed social data and used it to correctly predict 15 out of 18 Oscar award winners.  This year, we have expanded the scope of predictions to include almost all of the award shows.  And by calling Andy Samberg’s surprise win for Best Actor the other night, this year’s Social Awards Season is off to a great start.

But while everyone enjoys the glamour of the red carpet, or trying to see if they can pick the winners, it’s important to remember that the American film and television industry is much more than what we see on the red carpet.

Every day, nearly 2 million men and women all over this country wake up and go to work in a job that either directly or indirectly depends upon this industry.  Many of these are the folks whose names we  barely notice in the credits at the end of a movie or TV show – the carpenters who build the sets, the stuntmen and stuntwomen who make us believe that human beings can perform superhuman feats,  or the caterers who feed the hundreds of cast and crewmembers on each production. These are the people whose skills are essential to making this one of the most innovative, entertaining, and successfully American industries year after year – and most of them will never receive any type of public recognition for their contributions.

But it’s not just the people who work on a film or TV set that benefit from this industry. Every time a film or TV show is being made somewhere in the United States, local businesses and local economies are benefitting from it.  For a film production, that means an average of $225,000 flowing into the local economy each day of filming.  And for a place that calls a TV series home, like Albuquerque, New Mexico where Breaking Bad filmed for five seasons, it means years of stable income for local businesses, steady employment for locals, and years of residual tourism benefits as loyal fans come to see where their favorite shows were made.

So as we celebrate the power of films this year like 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyer’s Club, and The Wolf of Wall Street that  brought important periods in our history to the big screen; or the thrill-rides like Iron Man 3 and Gravity that continued to push the boundaries of visual effects, it’s important that we all take some time out to think of all those who worked behind the scenes for months or even years to make them possible – and thank them for the many hours of entertainment we have all come to enjoy because of them.

This post was originally posted on HuffingtonPost.com and can be read in its original format here.

 

The 2014 Social Awards Season

The 2014 Social Awards Season

Yahoo Teaming with FindAnyFilm to Make it Easier to Find Legitimate Content

by Senator Chris Dodd 12/11/2013 06:23 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

When film lovers in the United Kingdom and Ireland use Yahoo’s Movie site to find out the latest news on an upcoming film, read a review of a movie that was just released or look up some information on an old favorite, they’ll notice a big change in what they see on their screens thanks to a new partnership between a tech giant and the movie industry. 

Yahoo Movies U.K. is teaming up with the online film search-engine, FindAnyFilm.com, to make it easier for users to find legitimate services for watching films – whether downloading or streaming online, or providing information on cinema showings and allowing them to easily buying tickets to the latest hits playing in theaters.

The Industry Trust for IP Awareness, originally in a partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI), created FindAnyFilm.com to serve as the UK’s most comprehensive film-watching search engine in order to show audiences where they can safely and legitimately find the movies they want in whatever format they want to watch it in – whether in the cinema; on Blu-ray, DVD, or TV; or available for download or streaming online.   The Industry Trust, created through a partnership of the movie studios, theater owners, home entertainment companies and other film organizations, now runs the site on its own.

Constantly updated with the most current information on where and how to view films (and the cost), FindAnyFilm lets users find the film they’re looking for – or get other suggestions through the site’s recommendation options – by typing in a film’s title or the names of its directors and actors, or keywords that help guide the user to a particular movie.  And for those still playing in theaters, the site provides a full list of movies available in the area by postal code and gives the option of buying tickets to the show.

This new development is the latest in a long line of successful efforts by the Industry Trust to educate viewers on the growing multitude of legitimate options that are available for viewing content today and to show them why the work of content creators needs to be respected. And we congratulate them for these steps on behalf of the creators and makers in the UK, the US and throughout the world.

While FindAnyFilm is only available in the UK and Ireland, here in the United States, the MPAA has developed a website -- Where To Watch -- which provides an array of more than 95 legitimate online sites for viewing movies and TV shows.  In addition to Where To Watch, companies throughout the country have created an ever growing number of search engines and apps to help viewers find legitimate content online including CanIStreamIt, Go Watch It, Fan.TV and Fayve among others.

These steps are part of the incredible growth of online viewing opportunities being made available through partnerships with technology companies and film and TV creators.   And this is only the beginning – in the coming months we anticipate a growing number of options throughout the sector designed to help people find the movies and television shows they want to see and learn about new, easily accessible viewing opportunities available on TV, tablets, smartphones and computers.

This post was originally posted on HuffingtonPost.com and can be read in its original format here.

Copyright - A Leading Force for Jobs, Innovation and Growth

by Senator Chris Dodd 11/19/2013 08:46 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

View infographic to see how U.S. copyright industries lead the economy in value added to GDP, economic growth, good jobs and foreign sales and exports

For years, those of us representing copyright industries have been making the case that copyright is a major contributor to the U.S. economy and an important job creator for American workers. In case there were any doubts, a new study released today by the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) showed that, for the first time, the core copyright industries - the creators and producers of copyrighted materials like computer software, videogames, books, newspapers, music, and films and television programming - added over $1 trillion in value to the U.S. economy in 2012.

Of course, that is only part of the story - the other is that these important industries - and the millions of creative workers whose jobs are based on copyright - continue to face a major threat from piracy. And if we want copyright to continue to be a vibrant job producer and economic generator, we need to do more to strengthen and protect its businesses and workers, even as important new digital business ventures emerge to provide an ever increasing array of online movies, television shows, music and other creative products for consumers.

According to the new study, Copyright Industries in the U.S. Economy: The 2013 Report, these industries account for nearly 6.5% of the total U.S. GDP and are responsible for almost 5.4 million American jobs - that's almost 5% of the country's entire private sector. These are high-quality jobs offering an average of 33% more in compensation than the rest of the workforce.

And these are not just the famous people whose names and faces so many of us know, but the men and women sweating behind the scenes every day developing the latest software, building sets for films and TV shows, operating the lights and cameras, recording and producing the music we listen to, or publishing the latest books we love to read. These people provide the foundation of a healthy creative industry and they all depend on copyright for their livelihoods.

When you take into account other industries who work in and around copyright, but whose entire industry isn't based on it (such as toys and games, fabrics, TV sets, computers, etc.), these numbers grow even more staggering with more than 11.1 million workers employed altogether and $1.7 trillion added to the GDP. In the film and television industry alone, we support 1.9 million of those jobs, both directly and indirectly, through the creation, production and distribution of our movies and TV shows.

Today's study was prepared by Stephen J. Siwek of Economists Incorporated for the IIPA, and updates 13 previous studies. Based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and other government agencies, the study demonstrates the vibrancy of copyright and creativity as an engine for growth for the U.S. economy. It also highlights copyright's role as an engine for export revenues, creating a positive balance of trade with a "copyright surplus" of $142 billion for key copyright sectors last year. This "surplus" directly benefits workers here in the United States and provides a great deal of economic stability during these not so stable times.

As we continue to become much more of a knowledge-based economy, the importance of the copyright industries will only continue to grow. Between 2009 and 2012, these industries grew at a rate of 4.7%, that's more than twice as much as the entire U.S. economy. And who knows how much larger that will be in the next three years, if we work together as a society to create and enforce effective laws that will continue fostering the tremendous economic growth and contributions of those who create and innovate.

This post was originally posted on HuffingtonPost.com and can be read in its original format here.

MPAA’s History of Fighting for Free Speech

by Senator Chris Dodd 10/21/2013 12:47 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

As a longstanding champion of the First Amendment, the Motion Picture Association of America proudly joins with businesses, associations, and educational institutions across America to honor our nation’s most treasured right as we celebrate National Free Speech Week. This annual program, first created by the Media Institute, seeks to raise awareness of our First Amendment protections through activities such as vigorous discussions, mock debates and exhibits.

As an industry that thrives on the freedom of creators to tell the stories they want to tell and of audiences to be able to watch what they want to watch, the American film and television industry has long stood as a leading voice for freedom of expression. Without it, our films and TV shows could never have the cultural and social impact that they have been celebrated for over the past century.

And it is something that we have been fighting to protect for nearly 100 years, since 1915’s Mutual Film Corporation vs. Industrial Commission of Ohio when filmmakers fought against the state’s censorship board. But despite such efforts, it was not until 1952’s landmark Supreme Court decision in Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson that motion pictures finally became recognized as a form of expression protected by the Constitution. 

Since that historic ruling, the MPAA has fought tirelessly to ensure that films and other creative works are afforded the full First Amendment freedoms to which they are entitled. The MPAA fought against censorship boards in cases like 1954’s Superior Films, Inc. v. Ohio Dept. of Education and 1960’s Times Film Corp. v. City of Chicago. And we have, and continue to, protect creators’ ability to make the films they want, whether it’s fighting “Son-of-Sam” laws that restricted criminals from profiting from their crimes by telling their stories to the media and denied filmmakers an important source of ideas and information in 1991’s Simon & Schuster, Inc. v. New York State Crime Victims Board.  And we have championed creators’ ability to draw inspiration from real people and events in the still-pending case of Sarver v. Chartier, among others.

The ability to express oneself free of the fear of censorship or government reprisal is a fundamental right that is cherished by all Americans. As the world continues to change and the evolution of technology challenges the boundaries of free speech, the MPAA will continue our longstanding tradition of standing as First Amendment champions.  

 

National GDP Revised to Reflect The Economic Activity Generated By Film and Television

by Senator Chris Dodd 07/31/2013 09:03 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

This morning, the Department of Commerce said that the United States' Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is bigger than we thought -about 3% bigger. And we have R&D and a wide range of creative works including movies, like Disney's Iron Man, and television shows, like HBO's Game of Thrones, to thank for it.

Starting today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is changing the method it uses to calculate GDP to better reflect the economic contributions that come from businesses investing in research and development and the creation of copyrighted works like films and television series. Put simply, this means that the national GDP now more accurately reflects the economic activity generated by creative works.

Originally announced back in March, this "comprehensive review" is among those carried out by the Bureau every five years or so in order to better quantify the GDP, and the latest change reflects the realities of an economy that is dependent on people investing in ideas and developing new intellectual property, along with tangible goods.

The BEA has revised the calculations for the GDP all the way back to 1929, showing that it has actually been about 3% higher than previously reported. According to these new numbers, research and development and entertainment added $471 billion to the revised $16.2 trillion overall economy through the end of 2012. The investment in films, television shows, literature and music produced by the entertainment industry was approximately $74 billion in 2012, and $75.3 billion in Q2 of 2013.

For years, the BEA treated the money that was spent creating new entertainment works as current expenses -- or costs of business. Therefore the film and television industry was captured in the GDP only downstream based on revenue generated by film and television products, and did not include the impact on the economy based on their investment.

The change reflects that in economic terms, film and television works are an intangible asset, not an expense. Long after they're first developed, these creations continue to retain their value and deliver residual benefits. Films and TV shows, for instance, are licensed and sold to different markets for years - even decades - after their original release. It goes without saying that when productions decide to film a movie or television show in a local community, they invest a great deal of money there when they create production facilities, employ local workers as members of the cast and crew, and rely on local small businesses over the course of production - now the impact of that production investment is being reflected in the national economic calculations as well.

These artistic originals will be getting the recognition they deserve as long term investments that contribute to the strength of the U.S. economy. Today, we live in a world and in a country where researchers, technology developers, and creative artists are vital to the economy. While these changes in BEA's formula will not change the economic growth the nation has experienced, they will give us a much more accurate picture of the world we live in today. And they will more accurately reflect the important role that the American film and television industry has, and will continue to play, in strengthening our nation's economy.

This piece was originally posted on HuffingtonPost.Com and can be read in its original format here.

Film and Television Play Vital Role in Driving Innovation, Strengthening US Economy

by Senator Chris Dodd 07/24/2013 07:25 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

New infographic breaks down industry’s economic contribution

Tomorrow, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet will examine the role of copyright as a driver of innovation in America.  The hearing will be a great opportunity to hear stories of the people who are on the ground, developing new and cutting edge ways to make the movies and TV shows we love – and the ways in which sound copyright policy makes their work possible.  Their jobs are just some of the thousands all across this country that contribute to the creation of our great American export: film and television.

Every year, the MPAA analyzes data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources to determine our industry’s contribution to the United States economy. Using the most recent data available, we offer this snapshot, which summarizes the industry’s economic impact and reinforces that the production and distribution of film and television continues to be one of this country’s most valuable cultural and economic resources. 

In 2011, the motion picture and television industry supported nearly 2 million jobs and $104 billion in wages. These figures are slightly lower than the previous year, primarily due to the closure of traditional video rental stores, which are being supplanted by online platforms. As new technologies transform the way audiences enjoy entertainment, we also are adjusting our economic formulas to ensure that we capture the changing landscape – a process that is ongoing. 

The industry’s direct production-related jobs increased over the previous year to 284,000, generating $43.1 billion in wages. By direct production industry jobs, we mean the set designers, production assistants, marketing professionals, and others who are involved in the core business of production, marketing, manufacturing, and studio distribution of film and television shows. These are high paying jobs, earning an average of $84,000 per year or 75% higher than the national average. There are an additional 365,000 direct jobs distributing the content enjoyed by millions directly to consumers, like those in movie theaters or video rental stores, not to mention indirect jobs in thousands of other companies. And as we highlighted during National Small Business Week a few weeks back, many of the jobs just discussed are part of a national network of 108,000 businesses that comprise our industry, mainly small businesses. In fact, 85% employ fewer than 10 people.

American films and television shows are immensely popular worldwide, making our industry one of the most highly competitive globally, consistently generating a positive balance of trade with all of our partners around the world. Total exports increased to $14.3 billion in 2011, up 5% over the previous year, as box office in countries like China and Brazil expands. Opening new markets and providing legal platforms for global audiences to watch the film and television they love will continue to be a major priority for the MPAA.
 
The economic figures outlined above are important elements in the on-going conversations about the future of the US Copyright System. As these discussions progress, we will continue to advocate for protecting America’s creative community and incentivizing future innovation while ensuring an Internet that works for everyone.

Categories: Innovation, Job Production

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Foreign Markets and the Big Screen

by Senator Chris Dodd 03/30/2012 13:21 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

The motion picture industry, like all major American job creators, is part of a growing and interconnected world economy. But it might be surprising how important foreign movie theater audiences are to the millions of Americans who depend on the motion picture industry for their jobs. What country sells the most movie tickets every year? India -- 3.3 billion tickets to movie theaters. And which country had the largest box office growth last year? China led the way with a 35 percent increase.

The opening of new markets across the world for the motion picture industry is a cultural and economic achievement. Movies contribute to the richness of cultures across the world, with filmmakers from every nation telling interesting and important stories that can only be expressed through the medium of film. And there is nothing like watching a movie in a packed theater. Throughout the world, people are going in increasing numbers to the cinema to have the special experience of seeing a movie on the big screen.

In 2011, global box office receipts increased by three percent to $32.6 billion. Much of that growth was driven by overseas markets. Every international region, from South America to Asia, experienced box office growth. These numbers underscore the impact of movies on the global economy and the vitality of a trip to the local cinema, which remains one of the most affordable entertainment options for consumers.

I recently traveled to Beijing, Hong Kong and Mumbai to encourage greater partnership with the film communities in China and India and to encourage more market access for American films.

While in Beijing, I spoke with some of the American and Chinese officials who helped create a landmark trade agreement last month that allows Chinese audiences to see more American movies. This agreement significantly increases the number of American films allowed to be shown in movie theaters in China and provides a larger share of revenue for U.S. film companies.

China is of great importance to American filmmakers. The marketplace for American movies is thriving with the strongest growth in overseas markets, especially China. The Chinese box office had, by far, the largest growth of any major market in 2011 and is the second largest overseas market behind Japan.

Like America, India is a nation where movies matter. They enrich the culture while creating a more vibrant economy that helps the prosperity of the Indian middle class. In Mumbai, I spoke with many Indian government officials along with film and entertainment industry leaders at the FICCI FRAMES conference about the rapid growth of the Indian motion picture industry. Two years ago it was a $3.2 billion industry. Two years from now it is estimated to exceed $5 billion, which is truly incredible growth.

The box office in India is also growing. Last year, there were $1.4 billion in ticket sales, the fifth largest box office receipts in the world.

The expansion of theater audiences is good for the economy in America and around the world. Many movies make from half to seventy percent of their box office revenue in foreign markets. This helps grow an industry on which over 2.2 million Americans depend for their jobs. And this industry is one of the few that consistently generates a positive balance of trade for the United States.

I look forward to another year of great movies and strong box office growth throughout the world. Innovation and technology continue to be a driving force for the motion picture industry. Movie theaters are filled across the globe with people excited about great films and new technology that enhances the movie going experience.


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