Inside Move: Jack be nimble

Valenti fights the good fight from abroad

Jack Valenti hasn’t lost his crusading bravado.

The 82-year-old MPAA topper, supposedly on his retirement tour, offered to come home early from Cannes to appear at a May 20 congressional hearing over the legality of companies such as ClearPlay offering sanitized versions of Hollywood’s pics. But Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chair of the House Judiciary subcommittee on intellectual property, turned down Valenti’s offer. Even the studios and the DGA decided not to send reps to testify after discovering the hearing would focus on their negotiations with ClearPlay.

But Valenti was undeterred. He wrote an impassioned appeal explaining why the DGA and studios have to take a hardline stance.

“No one can object to individual viewers choosing not to watch certain portions of a film,” he wrote. “But we do strongly object to third parties independently deciding what parts of a movie viewers see — without permission of the copyright owner.”

Valenti warned that altering copyright law, as several solons have threatened, would create the opportunity for making films even more violent and sexually graphic.

“To open this door is to open Pandora’s box,” he added. “I urge you … to refrain from proposing changes in the law that would certainly erode the rights of copyright owners that you have so steadfastly championed.”

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