Prexy declares solidarity with local industry

Motion Picture Assn. of America prexy Chris Dodd slipped easily into his role as Hollywood’s ambassador to the world Tuesday, expressing his solidarity with Spain’s piracy-ravaged film industry at a Madrid meeting.

“Fortunately, you are not alone in dealing with these challenges,” Dodd told a glitzy gathering of senior Spanish film producers, politicos and trade body honchos.

Four months into the job, Dodd reiterated his dislike of a one-size-fits-all approach to international anti-piracy measures, praising a Spanish law approved this year that allows courts to shutter websites facilitating illegal movie, TV and music downloads.

“Each country is trying to find its path to legality,” Dodd said. “The Spanish market has been hit particularly hard. I admire and respect Spanish politicians for having committed to a process creating the recent Sustainable Economy Law.”

But, while peer-to-peer downloading without permission is a felony in the U.S., Spain’s new ruling does not penalize unauthorized peer-to-peer usage for non-profit motives. And the details of how it will work in broader terms are still to be passed into law.

Spoken in Spanish with a soft Cuban lilt, Dodd’s words came as Spain still faces a delicate future in its attempts to curb intellectual property theft. There’s a large question as to whether the ruling PSOE socialist party will want to continue the unpopular legislation in the run-up to general elections, which must take place by March.

Teddy Bautista, prexy of the Authors’ Rights Collecting Society and a high priest of intellectual property protection in Spain, was arrested July 1, charged with embezzlement.

And most young Spaniards would deny that unauthorized downloading constitutes theft.

Introducing Dodd, Enrique Cerezo, prexy of the Egeda producers’ collection org, observed that there are 400 million illicit downloads a year in Spain while only 100 million cinema tickets are sold.

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