SYDNEY — Mike Ellis, Hollywood’s chief antipiracy crusader in Asia, has been upped from VP to senior VP and regional director at the Motion Picture Assn.
The org’s Hong Kong-based head of antipiracy ops since 1999, Ellis is moving to Singapore and will be tasked with promoting the MPA’s interests by securing greater copyright protection and market access in the region.
In the latter role he takes over from Mike Connors, who retired last week after 14 years with the MPA (Daily Variety, April 16).
The number of antipiracy investigations conducted under Ellis’ supervision in the first quarter of this year increased by 15%, resulting in the seizure of almost 11 million VCDs and DVDs — more than twice the number in the same period last year.
A growing area of concern is online piracy, which the MPA says is taking hold in Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.
“Asia leads the world in high-speed Internet connections and the adoption of new technologies that are fueling the demand for digital entertainment,” said MPA chairman-CEO Jack Valenti. “Unfortunately, with these trends, we are seeing a rapid growth in online piracy in the order of the more traditional forms of piracy that have plagued the region historically.” Ellis will be assisted in lobbying and antipiracy enforcement by Frank Rittman, VP, Asia-Pacific, who joined the MPA in 2001 following a long association in the U.S. and Asia with the National Music Publishers’ Assn. and the Harry Fox Agency.