MPAA prexy calls on Congress to note economic study

WASHINGTON — Motion Picture Assn. of America prexy Jack Valenti called on Congress to take special note of an economic study released Tuesday showing that the movie biz and other copyright-based industries are the country’s greatest asset.

“This confirms one of the great truisms of this age. We are no longer in a society that lives off of goods that people make with their hands. We’re now in the intellectual century,” Valenti said. “This means from Congress’ standpoint, if it does anything to shrink, diminish or enfeeble copyright, which is the engine that drives all of this, it inevitably diminishes the economy of the United States.”

The study touted by Valenti concluded that in 1999, core copyright industries contributed more to the U.S. economy than any other major industry sector, racking up $79.65 billion in foreign sales and exports. These core industries include film, TV programs, business and entertainment software, books, music and sound recordings.

Copyright top of the agenda

Entertainment execs predict that copyright protection issues will be at the top of their agendas when the new Congress and president are installed in January.

One priority for the MPAA is the perfection of encryption technology that will prevent movies from being downloaded illegally from the Internet on a mass scale.

“Protection of our intellectual property from all forms of theft, particularly online thievery, must be a priority if the United States is to maintain its position as the leader in today’s ever-evolving world market,” Valenti said.

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