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Dodd lobbies Italos on piracy bill

MPAA topper also speaks at Rome fest panel

ROME

MPAA chairman Chris Dodd met Italian prime minister Mario Monti on Friday in Rome in a high-level lobbying effort that Italo industryites hope will push long-stalled anti-piracy legislation through parliament.

Dodd, on his first visit to Italy as MPAA chief, also had a talk with Italo media watchdog Angelo Maria Cardani, who oversees the country’s Internet issues, and held an onstage conversation about piracy at the Rome Film Festival with producer Riccardo Tozzi, head of Italo motion picture association Anica.

Tozzi, who was instrumental in bringing Dodd to Italy, told Variety he has high hopes the Monti government will act swiftly to implement a local anti-piracy bill that combines elements from Gaul’s anti-piracy three-strikes law, known as Hadopi, and the Stop Online Piracy Act in the U.S. before Monti’s mandate expires next spring.

Italy has long been on the U.S. government’s watch list of countries where piracy is worst.

According to a recent Fapav survey, 37% of Italians have consumed pirated audiovisual content more than once, costing the entertainment industry an estimated in €500 million ($636 million) a year.

In a speech at the Rome fest Dodd, who has been touring the world since taking office 19 months ago, said piracy is “a global issue requiring a global response.”

In Europe, Dodd noted that a number of countries are making progress in dealing with global pirates, citing France as the nation leading the way. He added that courts in eight European countries have issued blocking orders against pirate websites by using civil law norms sanctioned by EU legislation.

As for what methods are most effective, Dodd specified that “it’s not about arresting 15-year-olds.”

“In France almost 80% of those notified that they were actually downloading illegal content, stopped doing it with no need for a second warning,” he said.

Dodd also underlined that film and TV production companies in the U.S. and elsewhere are working swiftly to create new and more effective methods of legal distribution across multiple devices.

“There are 350 online on-demand audiovisual services available globally. And new ones appearing almost on an hourly basis,” he said.

Tozzi said Anica will soon set up a local online distribution platform in Italy, where Netflix is not active.

The MPAA chief also stressed that progress is being made in co-operation between the film and TV industry and the Internet and new media sectors, and also with advertising and payment processing companies.

“Earlier this year Google announced it would begin altering its algorithms to ensure that sites which infringe property are pushed further down on their search results than legal sites,” he told the panel. “This a welcome and important first step, and we congratulate Google.”

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