That, and other news, in today's Roundup and Recap.
Industry lobbyists and Obama administration officials are hailing a World Trade Organization ruling that China is violating international trade law in its restrictions and roadblocks to the import of movies and DVDs in the country. MPAA chairman Dan Glickman called the ruling "a major victory" in the industry's "years long battle to open the Chinese movie market" and said that it "points a way forward that will begin to level the playing field in this important market."
Studios seeking a foothold in the Chinese market have been stymied by a byzantine system of regulations and restrictions on distributionand exhibition. It's important to note that China can appeal the ruling, and that the WTO did not issue any statement on the country's 20-picture-a-year quota on foreign films.
Glickman said in a statement, “The Chinese system for distributing U.S. films to Chinese audiences is among the most restrictive and burdensome in the world. After years of pressing the Chinese to ease these barriers it is potentially promising that the Chinese government has now, in its own words, indicated that a pathway does exist to ensure that U.S. films are treated in a more even-handed manner and more in line with accepted commercial practices. This decision, coupled with the recent announcement from the State Council that the Chinese government intends to lower market access thresholds for the cultural industry, may be an opening we have been seeking."
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement: "This decision promises to level the playing field for American companies working to distribute high-quality entertainment products in China, so that legitimate American products can get to market and beat out the pirates. To me, that is a clear win."
The full WTO ruling is here.
WGA and CAIR: The Council on American-Islamic Relations held an event targeted at Muslim screenwriters on Tuesday, with screenwriter Jeffrey Nachmanoff the featured speaker. The event had been set to held in space made available by the WGA, but its location was moved. Some WGA members had complained to the guild out of concerns that it was co-sponsoring the event with CAIR, which was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a 2007 Texas terrorism trial, charges of which CAIR has said were unfair.
Schulberg Remembered: John Meroney writes in defense of Budd Schulberg and his decision to name names. "Imagine if one of America's foremost writers had once been privy to a shadowy plot by Hitler's Germany to take control of the motion picture industry through its labor organizations and force writers to clear scripts with Nazi censors, and then he courageously stepped forward to blow the whistle on the whole operation.
"Wouldn't it be bizarre if, when this man died, instead of being celebrated for such heroism, he was criticized and even attacked by colleagues for revealing the identities of those who were behind the intrigue?"
State of the Truce: My colleague Brian Lowry wonders what happened with the truce between GE and News Corp. to tone down the O'Reilly and Olbermann rhetoric. "If this is a truce, it is hard to imagine what a war would look like."
Euna Lee Talks: One of the journos returned home from North Korea last week posted a message on the Lauraandeuna.com site.
Norris' Claim: Chuck Norris writes of a "dirty little secret" in Obama/congressional healthcare plans. He says in a Townhall op-ed, "Dirty secret No. 1 in Obamacare is about the government's coming into homes and usurping parental rights over child care and development." Rep. Jim McDermott writes in response: "He neglects to mention that his hero, former President George Bush, funded a pilot home visitation program because, as his Administration said, “There is a growing body of evidence that suggest that some home visitation programs can be successful as a child maltreatment prevention strategy.”