×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

MPAA’s Dodd digs in at fest

Talks circle movie piracy and how it's handled

In the two months since Christopher Dodd took the top job at the Motion Picture Assn. of America, attention has been on what he’ll do for Hollywood in Washington.

In his first trip to Cannes as chief of the trade association, the focus is on that of ambassador to the rest of the world.

“The movie business is kind of considered old hat,” Dodd told Variety in a break at the Majestic Beach on Monday. “But the reality is that it’s highly innovative and creative.”

That’s been a main talking point as Dodd participated in roundtable discussions, hosted a Sunday night reception and met with an array of European politicians and trade reps.

He said the perceptions of Hollywood have much to do with how the industry convinces the worldwide public that copyright theft is a problem. As he has elsewhere, he said the industry has done an “abysmal” job on this front.

It starts with the word often used to describe it: piracy.

“The big issue for us is thievery,” he said. “I hate the word ‘piracy’ because it conjures up these lovable characters. Theft of intellectual property is the dominant issue.”

Dodd is seeking to craft legislative and educational anti-theft initiatives that can work in individual markets rather than a one-size-fits all approach.

And he believes that the key message the industry needs to convey is that theft of intellectual property has a profoundly negative cultural impact.

“It’s more than just losing jobs,” Dodd asserted. “You lose the ability to tell your story.”

Dodd’s visit to Cannes comes a few days after federal legislation was introduced aimed at curbing online piracy, with a focus on choking off support for foreign sites that sell unauthorized movies, TV shows and music.

One Senate bill, the Protect IP Act, would authorize the Justice Dept. to seek a court order directing third-parties — search engines, payment processors, advertising networks and Internet providers — to cease providing transactions and support to overseas sites engaged in online infringement.

Another Senate bill would make illegal streaming of copyrighted works a felony, bringing it in line with the punishment for peer-to-peer downloading.

Dodd noted that the two bills carry bipartisan support, and were authored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).

“It’s one of the few areas that Democrats and Republicans agree on. I’m very hopeful that we can get this to the finish line.”

Dodd is packing a lot into his three days in Cannes. “I saw ‘The Artist’ and it’s just tremendous,” he said. “I’m planning to see ‘Tree of Life’ tonight.”

More Film

  • Young Ahmed

    Cannes Film Review: 'Young Ahmed'

    There’s a darkness to “Young Ahmed” that audiences have never seen before in the work of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, the gifted Belgian brothers whose profoundly humane, unapologetically realist dramas have twice earned them the Palme d’Or in Cannes. Like surrogate parents to troubled children, the sibling directors have taken on their share of difficult [...]

  • Radegund

    Cannes: Fox Searchlight Nabs Terrence Malick's 'A Hidden Life'

    Fox Searchlight has picked up rights for U.S. and several international territories on Terrence Malick’s contemplative World War II drama “A Hidden Life,” which world premiered Sunday in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. “A Hidden Life” tells the true story of the Austrian farmer Franz Jägerstätter, who rejected Adolf Hitler and objected to the [...]

  • China's Zhou Dongyu Is Focusing on

    China's Zhou Dongyu Plans to Focus on Acting, Says Female Roles Improving

    China’s Zhou Dongyu may have taken a recent turn as a producer, but the 27-year-old actress plans to focus on honing her craft in front of the camera rather than branching out too much into other roles behind it. She also believes that female roles are increasing in quantity and quality in China, and is [...]

  • German Films Cocktail Cannes 2019 CannesMay

    Cannes: German Films Celebrates Festival Films at Villa Rothschild

    Pictured: Peter Herrmann, chairman of German Films, Michael Weber of The Match Factory, and Simone Baumann, managing director of German Films. Simone Baumann, the managing director of German Films, celebrated the many German co-productions screening in the Cannes Film Festival at the promotional agency’s cocktail party Saturday at Villa Rothschild in Cannes. “Germany is one [...]

  • Steven Gaydos, Jacob Weydemann, Katriel Schory,

    Variety Celebrates 10 Producers to Watch in Cannes

    CANNES–Variety honored its 10 Producers to Watch for 2019 at a brunch on Monday morning at Cannes’ Plage des Palmes. Launched at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998, the annual event fetes 10 producers from the U.S. and the international film community who share a common commitment to bold, original, provocative storytelling. The films produced by [...]

  • Kathy Griffin photographed at the Variety

    Kathy Griffin Movie 'A Hell of a Story' Gets Theatrical Release (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story,” a documentary comedy from the star comedian, has sold to Brainstorm Media for a special theatrical release this summer, Variety has learned. The movie will play in U.S. theaters on July 31, for a one-night special event. Fanthom Events is a partner on the deal, and Griffin will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content