the MPAA - been wrong so long...

...that it looks like right to me.

music is a big thing in my life. it has been for a long time, which is why i tend to focus on that aspect of the discussion of copyright and copywrong...

but for every dumb idea about 'intellectual property in the digital age' in the Music Industry, there's 2  or 3 people in the Movie Industry reading
from the same script*.

One of the biggest mouths in movies about all
this was the late
Jack Valenti. Valenti was a war hero and a Beltway insider before Lew Wasserman brought him out to LA in '66 to head the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), a not-for-profit trade organization.

What are the key functions of the MPAA? 
We are the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries, domestically and, through our subsidiaries and affiliates, internationally.

from the MPAA website


The organization is funded by the “big six” studios: Paramount, Disney, Fox, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros.

When Valenti retired in 2004, after 38 years
as president, the MPAA's annual budget was estimated at more than $100 million a year.

Valenti was 82 years old when he retired.
His term as the industry's spokesman spanned nearly four decades of unprecedented technical
and social change.

When he began in 1966, the "new thing"
was the audio cassette.

It would be 10 years before the great Videotape Format war and 10 again until VHS finally
achieved total global domination.

As that fight was raging, more cool new
tech toys were hitting the street every year.

Personal computers really caught on, and so did compact disc players. Modern life was taking
a turn to the digital. The genie was out of the bottle, and getting ready to  leave the building .

The 90s brought the rise of the DVD and worse,
oh yes much worse by far - the world wide web. 


"His personal passion and extreme comfort
around politicians gave him credibility that
others ... would lack.
Mr Valenti was a consummate salesman, who
like all great salesmen ... worked himself up into believing the truth of his clients' message."

William Patry
- copyright attorney for the Clinton administration



A huge parasite in the marketplace, feeding and fattening itself off of local television stations and copyright owners of copyrighted material. We do not like it because we think it wrong and unfair.

Comments on the Cable television industry,
in testimony to Congress (June 1974)

Satan's little helper


"I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston Strangler is to the woman home alone".

"We are going to bleed and bleed and hemorrhage, unless this Congress at least protects one industry that is able to retrieve a surplus balance of trade and whose total future depends on its protection from the savagery and the ravages of this machine."


We are facing a very new and a very troubling assault on our fiscal security, on our very economic life... it is like a great tidal wave just off the shore.
This video cassette recorder and the blank tape threaten profoundly the life-sustaining protection, I guess you would call it, on which copyright owners depend...


“Forever plus one day.”

Valenti's suggestion for Sonny Bono's Copyright Extension Act.
Passed in 1998, the act only extended an additional 20 years^


You've already got a DVD. It lasts forever.
It never wears out. In the digital world, we don't need back-ups, because a digital copy never wears out. It is timeless.

Valenti responds to a question on breaking encryption to make a back-up copy of a DVD.
Harvard Political Review


Q: Can Internet piracy be contained?

A: It costs us $3.5 billion a year, but it's not going to go unchecked. We have the best brains working on this. I'm optimistic that in the next eight months to two years, we'll have this thing under control.

Jack Valenti, USA Today June 2004

“We’re fighting our own terrorist war
against people who would pirate movies online.


Lions and tigers and bears!
Oh my!

Click here for part 2!


^ Since the Copyright Act of 1976, copyright would last for the life of the author plus 50 years, or 75 years for a work of corporate authorship. The Act extended these terms to life of the author plus 70 years and for works of corporate authorship to 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever endpoint is earlier.[1]


* Disclosure...
i like movies. i'm not like some of my friends, who think  their annual film festival program book is a kind of foreplay, but i've seen a few.

i also studied movies for a while in university, i've made films, helped friends make films and when i lived in Vancouver, working on film sets paid the bills for a lot of my friends.

there was a time when news of a Fellini retrospective or a new Herzog film would set my heart a flutter, but it's been a while. i actually don't remember the last film i saw in a theatre.


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