Rep. Blackburn: “It’s Wrong To Deny Creators And Innovators The Fruits Of Their Labor”

by MPAA 07/11/2013 13:53 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

In an op-ed in Tuesday’s The Hill, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) urges the government to strengthen the foundation of American innovation, arguing that intellectual property rights are essential to fostering economic growth.

As Rep. Blackburn points out, strengthening intellectual property laws would do more than ensure economic profit – it would protect the individual rights of the millions of people employed by the creative industries to benefit from their hard work. Strong IP rights foster innovation and support U.S. industries that, according to a report released last year by the Chamber of Commerce, provide more than 50 million jobs to Americans.

Blackburn writes, in part:

America has always been a society that rewards good ideas and protects property rights in a free-market capitalist system, not one premised on permission-less innovation where others can free-ride or take someone’s creation without even asking.

It’s wrong to deny creators and innovators the fruits of their labor or to deprive them of their individual right to profit for the work they legitimately create.

Calling for real action rather than more rhetoric, Blackburn says we must collectively “do more than just offer reports that include the typical feel-good language: ‘transparency,’ ‘fair use,’ ‘coordination,’ and ‘voluntary initiatives.’” She continues:

Instead of rehashing buzz terms and talking points, we need to institute a national strategy that puts Americans’ private property rights and the rule of law at the forefront. If we don’t, countries like China and India will have no problem taking advantage [of] our failures to fight for what is rightfully ours.

Creative industries like film and television production rely on the safeguards of intellectual property laws to create new jobs and protect the wages of employees.  As Rep. Blackburn makes clear, in an increasingly global economy, we cannot afford to leave ourselves economically vulnerable.

MPAA Welcomes Ryan Coogler, Writer and Director of “Fruitvale Station”

by MPAA 06/28/2013 07:32 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

When 2013 Sundance favorite Fruitvale Station hits your theater next month, there may not be a dry eye in the house. At least there weren’t many on Tuesday evening at an MPAA-hosted screening of the drama. The MPAA welcomed the film’s young up-and-coming director, Ryan Coogler, to speak about his profoundly moving film and the true events that inspired it.

Karen Finney, host of MSNBC’s Disrupt with Karen Finney, joined Coogler to moderate a discussion about the critically acclaimed film, the impetus behind its production and the societal context of its powerful message.

Coogler is a director and screenwriter from the San Francisco Bay Area, where Fruitvale Station is set. He graduated from USC School of Cinematic Arts in 2011, where he directed several award-winning short films. Fruitvale Station, is Coogler’s debut into feature film, marking the 27-year-old director’s break into the big leagues. Fruitvale won both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It was also screened at the Un Certain Regard section at this year's Cannes Film Festival and awarded the Prize of the Future.

The movie tells the true story of 22-year-old Oakland man Oscar Grant (played in the film by Michael B. Jordan), who was fatally shot by a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) police officer, while unarmed, at the Fruitvale subway station on New Year’s Day 2009. At the screening Tuesday, Coogler said the story of Grant, which deeply affected residents of the Bay Area, resonated with him due to his proximity to Grant and their shared experience as young, African American men growing up in the Bay Area. “I was born the same year as Oscar … If he were here today, he’d be 27 as I am right now,” Coogler said.

Coogler talked about Fruitvale Station’s focus on telling the story from Oscar’s perspective, which he said he hoped would afford viewers a chance to get to know Oscar on a more personal level. Coogler said the story-telling potential inherent in filmmaking is one of the things he loves most.

“Film can trigger empathy in you for characters that you haven’t met, and it’s kind of a way to have an out-of-body experience,” he said. “You get to live as somebody else; you get to see different perspectives.”

As Finney, MPAA Chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd and several audience members pointed out, Coogler’s success with Fruitvale Station comes at the early stages of his career. So what’s next for the young director? “I want to get better, improve and continue to work,” Coogler said. “What I really hope to do is continue to make films about subject matters that affect me on a personal level.”

Fruitvale Station stars Michael B. Jordan (The Wire), Melonie Diaz (Be Kind Rewind), Kevin Durand (Dark Angel, Lost) and Octavia Spencer (The Help). The film, produced by Academy Award ®-winning actor Forest Whitaker, opens in select theaters July 12.

Karen Finney and Ryan Coogler

Ryan Coogler and Senator Chris Dodd

Photo Credit: Joy Asico

The Importance of Creative Content to the Economy

by MPAA 06/07/2013 08:20 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

The World Creators Summit convened this week in Washington, bringing together creators from a wide range of industries along with creative rights organizations from across the world, to discuss the global importance of copyright laws. The speakers represented a diverse array of interests and perspectives, but they all made one crucial fundamental point:  protecting American creativity is critical to both our national economy and our national identity.
Artists, directors, Administration officials, and Members of Congress were among those in attendance to discuss copyright and its fundamental protection of our nation’s great ideas. In her keynote address, US Register of copyrights, Maria A. Pallante, emphasized the importance of creative content as “essential to our culture, commerce and progress as a people”. Representative Bob Goodlatte stressed during a panel discussion with Representative  Anna G. Eshoo, “creativity is bound to technology, as it is through this that cultural products are mainly delivered. Therefore, promoting and protecting creators goes hand in hand with promoting and advancing technology.” Rep. Eshoo echoed that sentiment and observed that “no nation is great without valuing and protecting creativity of its citizens.”
Paul Williams, songwriter and President and Chairman of the Board of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), stated emphatically, ”Copyrighting is intended to give composers, authors and publishers the security that their work will not only connect with audiences and make the world a richer and more enjoyable place for everyone, but generate the sort of fair compensation that recognizes that contribution.” Echoing that sentiment, Victoria Espinel, United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator for the White House, added "creative content enriches our lives and is a top export around the world."
The summit was a valuable exploration of the crucial role that copyright and intellectual property protection to the creative process. It was an important reminder that creators from all industries need copyright to provide incentive to transform ideas into innovation -- innovation, in turn, that leads to economic growth.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Makes the Case for IP Rights

by MPAA 05/21/2013 14:41 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

In an article posted this week on Free Enterprise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Tom Donohue highlights the often-overlooked “positive side” of the intellectual property rights debate and the economic benefits of enforcing IP rules.

Donohue writes, in part:

There are millions of good actors who contribute to America’s economic strength and competitiveness when they abide by IP rules   as they invent and innovate – or when they fight to protect IP through enforcement.

The good guys can be found all across the country in startups, studios, and labs, where they are turning their ideas into real products and services.  Honest and law-abiding innovators are helping raise our quality of life, improve choices and safety for consumers, enrich our culture, drive our economy, and create opportunity for others.

Donohue goes on to note that IP-based industries such as the beloved film, TV and music trades account for $5.8 trillion in gross domestic product and nearly 56 million jobs in the U.S.  The motion picture and TV industry alone supports 2.1 million jobs across the country including 91,000 in New York, 8,600 in Louisiana, and 191,000 in California. 

But proper enforcement of IP rules, Donohue argues, is critical to giving artists and inventors the assurance they need to continue creating.  “Without a strong system of IP rights, such assurance is threatened – along with economic growth and job creation,” he writes.

We couldn’t agree more.  If we expect the nation’s talented and diverse crop of innovators to continue making movies, writing songs or inventing the next piece of technology that changes the way we live, we have to encourage policies that allow these innovators to benefit off their work so they can invest in making more of it.  

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" Bringing Jobs and Revenue to New York State

by MPAA 03/13/2013 15:33 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Earlier today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” will be filmed entirely in New York. With scenes shot both upstate and downstate, it is expected to result in 3,500 jobs and the casting of 11,000 extras and will be the largest production filmed in New York to date. Major projects like this with a large economic footprint are the result of a strong production incentive program, which makes New York an attractive place to shoot.  In the words of Governor Cuomo, “This production will also help generate new jobs and economic activity both upstate and downstate which is great news for our local communities and fans of the franchise.”

The economic boon to the state is not just limited to the set itself.  According to the Governor’s office, the production will require 6,000 hotel room nights in New York State, and will use a number of Long Island-based businesses to supply food and equipment. The estimates on spending range from approximately $279,000 in container rentals to $130,000 in crane rentals to $19,000 for auto parts and more. Put simply, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” will mean money for local communities in New York.

Started in 2004, the production tax incentive program has meant estimated $12.1 billion worth of direct spending for New York and become a significant job generator. In 2012 alone, 134 productions have applied for New York’s production incentive. Gov. Cuomo has now proposed a 5-year extension of the program in this year’s budget.

Gov. Cuomo’s release can be read in its entirety here.


by MPAA 10/31/2012 11:03 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

2nd China International Co-production Film Screenings  

Kicking off with a special gala evening at Twentieth Century Fox’s Zanuck Theater in Century City, leaders from the American and Chinese film industries celebrated their continued efforts to co-produce films for the American and Chinese markets.  Over the next week a series of Chinese co-production screenings will take place around the city of Los Angeles. 
Christopher Dodd, Chairman and CEO, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox Film co-hosted the first screening, with special guests, Tong Gang, Director-General of the Film Bureau of China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television(SARFT), and James Cameron, director of Avatar and Titanic.


“Over the past few years, the film industries in the U.S. and China have committed to laying down stepping stones to building a successful partnership between our two great film communities,” said Christopher Dodd. “Appraising the relationship today, it’s fair to say that those stepping stones have become a firm and well-trodden path... as we look ahead to developing a truly globally-integrated film market within China, increased collaboration in the form of co-productions promises a bright future."
Tong Gang, who also led a Chinese delegation attending the screenings, said, “Our work with the MPA and its member studios has helped cultivate an ever-growing professional talent base active in film co-production, and I commend the artists who have brought us such a great variety of movies. We hope exchange programs and events such as this will allow American audiences to see more high quality co-production films. We also hope movies such as these will inspire more studios to participate in Sino-American film co-productions and in turn, continue to help elevate quality and standards.”
James Cameron, in his remarks said, “I think we all understand that the Chinese film market is growing so rapidly, not only as an internal market for its own filmmakers, but as a market for Hollywood films and international films to play there. It’s an incredibly exciting time. I’ve been to China a number of times over the last couple of years and I’m literally stunned by the rapid pace of change there, and the opportunity for those of us here and the filmmakers there to work together and really forge something new.”
The 2nd China International Co-Production Film Screenings is a week-long program developed by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and SARFT, with the support of AMC cinemas, the Asia Society, China Film Co-Production Corporation, China Film Group Corporation, China Lion Film Distribution, Chinese American Film Festival, IMAX and MTIME.
The screenings began with the opening night film Hot Summer Days, a co-production between China, Hong Kong and Fox International Productions (US), directed by Tony Chan and Wing Shya.  Other films featured include 33 Postcards, The Founding of a Republic, Love in the Buff, Ocean Heaven, and Painted Skin: The Resurrection.
On 29 October, IMAX held a special screening of the Hong Kong-China costume action pic Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, directed by Tsui Hark and starring Jet Li and Zhou Xun, at their headquarters in Santa Monica, Los Angeles.

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Rogue Websites A Threat to Consumers

by MPAA 11/16/2011 13:03 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Watch this video to see how rogue websites pose as legitimate operators to trick consumers:

Rogue Sites Prey on Internet Users

by MPAA 11/16/2011 11:23 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Watch this video to see how rogue sites take advantage of internet users during a simple online search:

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