MPAA’s Chris Dodd renews call on piracy

He says Silicon Valley, Hollywood should work together

MPAA chairman Chris Dodd has been calling on Hollywood and Silicon Valley to work together on a solution to piracy, particularly in a polarized political environment following the sidelining of legislation earlier this year.

He did so again on Wednesday, but this time he’s capitalizing on all of the attention to WME Entertainment chief Ari Emanuel’s remarks last week at the D: All Things Digital conference. Emanuel slammed Google for not doing enough to stop piracy — many Hollywood studio chiefs and policymakers agree with his point — but after some pushback from the tech giant, he issued a more conciliatory statement acknowledging industry “arrogance” on SOPA and asking the sides to “stop talking at each other and get in a room with all parties to figure this out.”

In a blog post on the Huffington Post, Dodd cited Emanuel’s call and one made by Time’s Sam Gustin for tech giants to “take him up on his offer.”

Dodd wrote: “It’s discouraging to hear Google executives say they ‘have done as much as they possibly can’ when in fact the theft of American products around the world is rampant — and often facilitated by their search engine. Now is not the time to bury our heads in the sand but instead to put them together to come up with a smart solution to a problem that is hurting not only the film and television community but industries across the American economy that are seeing their products stolen, counterfeited and sold.”

Last week, also at the All Things Digital conference, Google’s Susan Wojcicki challenged criticisms but also said that the company would be willing to talk. A Google spokeswoman said in response to Dodd’s comments, “We are in constant conversations with content creators about how to help them reach new audiences online and protect against piracy. Last year alone we took down 5 million infringing Web pages and invested more than $60 million in the fight against bad ads.”

With all the acrimony that was stirred up post-SOPA, however, launching substantive talks is getting to be like pursuing geopolitical detente. In his blog post, Dodd tried to soften the challenge. “As Ari Emanuel’s beloved onscreen alter ego Ari Gold — brought to life in the TV show ‘Entourage’ by exactly the hard-working Americans we aim to protect — would say in just slightly fewer words: ‘Let’s hug it out.'”