- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Hollywood and American innovators must work together to ensure that new technologies don’t threaten the entertainment industry’s copyrights, the head of the Motion Picture Association of America told a room full of Washington-area telecommunications executives yesterday.

New technologies that enable users to view content on their own terms are only as valuable as the material they are viewing, said Dan Glickman, chairman and chief executive officer of the MPAA, at a luncheon sponsored by TelecomHub, a local professional organization.

“If nobody paints the picture, there will be nothing to listen to or watch,” he said.

Web sites such as YouTube and portable devices such as IPods may hold great promise for consumers, but they also introduce new dangers of copyright infringement when users upload, download or use protected content without permission, he said.

“I hate the word ‘piracy,’” he said. “‘Piracy’ implies something romantic. It’s stealing is what it is.”

Last year, MPAA member studios lost $6 billion in revenue because of bootlegging and illegal copying, Mr. Glickman said.

“The protection of intellectual property was put in the Constitution of the United States; I believe it’s one of the reasons we’ve had such economic success over the past 200 years,” he said.

While the potential for infringement often pits Hollywood against the technology industry, there are several examples — such as the partnership between Apple Computer Inc. and Walt Disney Co. to make episodes of ABC shows available on ITunes — that demonstrate how the sectors can work together to advance their bottom lines while ensuring the integrity of copyrighted works.

“Neither of us can survive without the other,” he said of the two industries.

In addition to pay-to-download programs, intellectual property can be protected in several other ways, he said.

There will always be tech-savvy hackers capable of invalidating encryption software, Mr. Glickman conceded, but he stressed that content providers should not give up and must strive to stay one step ahead of new security technology.

To that end, a year ago MPAA helped form Motion Picture Laboratories Inc., a venture capital group devoted to funding new technologies to protect copyrighted works.

Mr. Glickman also called for increased education on the importance of intellectual property rights in elementary schools, in addition to colleges, where half of all piracy occurs in the U.S.

“There is no simple solution to the problem,” he said. But by offering content “hassle-free, for a reasonable cost,” the entertainment industry can greatly reduce the temptation to steal copyrighted works, he added.

Mr. Glickman, who took over the reins at MPAA two years ago, is a former agriculture secretary. Before that, he served for 18 years as a House Democrat representing Kansas.

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