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The entertainment industry often gets dismissed by lawmakers as denizens of a rarefied red carpet world, but there’s at least some effort afoot to create a constituency for Hollywood, the high and low arts and other parts of the culture: The creative economy. That was the title of a panel at the Center for American Progress on Tuesday, co-sponsored by Comcast, in which director Paris Barclay, columnist Thomas Friedman, former NEA director Bill Ivey and economist Steven E. Siwek, with Judy Woodruff moderating.

Each had ideas for boosting creativity in the culture. Barclay, for instance, argued for tougher piracy protections. “I need to count on my government to make this industry a profitable industry,” he said, adding that he doubted that a filmmaker like Spike Lee would have the same opportunity to make “Do the Right Thing” today knowing that pirated copies would proliferate on the Internet. But Ivey, now director of the Curb Program for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University, said that “fair use” policies have shrunk, making it all the more difficult for artists to build on the legacy of others. Friedman said anti-immigration laws threaten to halt “the single most competitive advantage of this country.”

“We have fallen into this dumb as we want to be attitude, where everything gets turned into a wedge issue,” he said.

Many of the creative industries have weathered the recession better than others, but that does not mean that they are faring well. Asked about Hollywood’s health, Barclay said, “We are walking around. We are on two feet, but we have lung cancer. And we need to go to the doctor to see what this cough is all about. It could be certainly treated, but I believe that right now not as many of us as should be are aware that there is an ailing in this industry. This industry is profitable for the most part if you look at the corporate giants but … unless we are really engaging and encouraging this high imagination and actively doing so there will not be as good a future.”

The full video is here.

Best moment: Barclay, who has been directing “Glee,” shared the tidbit that when he was in high school, he and fellow classmate John Roberts, the future chief justice, starred in their production of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” “I was Snoopy and he was Patty,” he said. He has searched for photos, but has so far come up empty.

All Rights Reserved: The show biz lobby will be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, again making their case for copyright, at the Copyright Alliance’s Exponential. Speaking will be Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), along with a series of events to remind that the best things in life are not free.

If You Haven’t Seen It: Bristol Palin’s debut on “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday night. The opening episode helped ABC win the night and brought in a bigger and younger audience than its bow last year, when Tom DeLay made his debut. (Adding insult to injury, the biggest bomb of the night was Fox’s Texas-themed, “Lone Star.”)

Wednesday Itinerary: Lee Fisher, Democratic candidate for Senate in Ohio, raises money at the Hancock Park home of Dean Hansell…Tommy Sowers, the Iraq vet running for Congress in Missouri, raises at the Hancock Park home of Howie and Susan Mandel…Markos Moulitsas speaks at Alliance Hollywood’s event at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles.