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Ex-democrat threatens his former Senate colleague

"Don't take us for granted."

That was the message the former Democrat Senator from Connecticut Chris Dodd sent his old Senate colleague -- and now President -- Barack Obama on Thursday in an exclusive Fox News interview.  

I. MPAA Threatens SOPA opposers

But Mr. Dodd, now CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, didn't stop there.  He went on to threaten his former Congressional colleagues -- both Republican and Democrat -- who together formed the bipartisan resistance that sunk the House's "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) (H.R. 3261) and Senate's "PROTECT IP Act" (PIPA) (S.968).

Obama flag
U.S. President Barack Obama [Image Source: SFGate]

He comments, "Candidly, those who count on quote 'Hollywood' for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who's going to stand up for them when their job is at stake.  Don't ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don't pay any attention to me when my job is at stake."

Despite seeing record profits, driven by a 35 percent rise in Blu Ray movie sales Chris Dodd and the MPAA insist that the movie industry is in dire trouble due to piracy.  He points to Avatar being stolen 21 million times as one example of piracy's decimating blow to the movie industry.  Of course he purposefully fails to note that Avatar made almost $3B USD at the box office worldwide.

He does his best to argue for Orwellian laws like SOPA, by trying to recharacterize the issue as a matter of little guys getting exploited, "You can complain and say, well, actors make a lot of money and they don't have to worry about this.  You tell that to that camera guy, you tell that to that makeup artist, you tell that to that truck driver out there who made, makes a living because they work in this industry."

Chris Dodd
MPAA's corpulent CEO Chris Dodd
[Image Source: Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom]

Chris Dodd ran against President Obama in 2008, but lost.  Afterwards he turned to a new career in lobbying, quickly securing his high-paying job as MPAA chief.

II. Editorial Take: Bribery is the Staus Quo in D.C. Today

A CEO threatening the U.S. President and Congress is a pretty bold move, and it is indicative of the sordid web of bribery that Washington D.C. has found itself in.  These days it's hard to get anything done at the federal level without a heavy lubricating layer of lobbyists bribes.

The big Hollywood CEO picks an inopportune time to attack President Obama, given that  members of Hollywood's elite -- top actors and companies -- have already given him $4.1M USD -- more than the $3.7M USD they gave to his campaign in 2008.  And the decision by the administration to break its silence and side with tech firms like Google Inc. (GOOG) in opposing SOPA, is expected to draw more lobbyist bribes from these top tech firms.

The conflict between Google, et al. and the MPAA, et al. in lobbyist dollars is illustrative of the unseemingly current nature of federal politics.  Today corporations and special interest groups essentially "own" pieces of the federal government.  

Bribe under table
These days it's hard to get anything done in D.C. without a bribe. [Image Source: i-Sight]

When their interests are independent or in line with each other they see their desired goals -- like millions in tax breaks -- easily passed, hidden as line item additions to bloated pieces of legislation.  But when their interests run counter to each other, they're forced to wage a war of bribes.

At the same time the U.S. people and small business owners are largely left out of the process, while there relatively high tax burden is funneled towards companies that have "bribed the best" on the Hill.  A recent study by the University of Kansas School of Business reveals that for ever $1 USD spent in lobbyist contributions, a corporation receives $222 USD in tax breaks.  The bill for those tax breaks is inevitably passed to the usual suspect -- the American taxpayer.

Sources: Fox News, NPR [$1 lobbyist = $222 tax breaks]

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RE: I don't think they realize...
By bug77 on 1/22/2012 2:51:08 PM , Rating: 2
Let's say each of those copies are lost sales. Let's even imagine everyone that pirated the movie would have gone out and got the BluRay version at $20 a piece. That would be $420M "lost" sales, while the movie made $3B. Hardly a threat to the industry, I'd say.

RE: I don't think they realize...
By joex444 on 1/22/2012 4:11:21 PM , Rating: 2
Right, the real value is somewhere between $0 and $420M.

But you're talking $420M on a film that grossed $2.8B. And the bluray doesn't even cost $20 anymore, so that $420M would need to take into account when people downloaded it.

RE: I don't think they realize...
By bug77 on 1/22/2012 4:54:05 PM , Rating: 2
I was just trying to come up with a worst case scenario.

Here's a (really old) link about what this is really all about:

RE: I don't think they realize...
By StevoLincolnite on 1/23/2012 1:41:58 AM , Rating: 5
I have to admit. I pirated Avatar.
I had already seen it at the movies and I owned the Blu-ray.

But hell... The amount of CRAP telling us NOT to pirate before a movie starts is utter insanity.

I usually buy all my Blu-Rays then run off and find a 1080P rip, I don't have to put up with those crappy messages before it starts and I can have it all archived on my HTPC while keeping my Discs in a nice condition.

It's like DRM for PC games, make the customer that has paid and done the right thing and punish them for it while the Pirates are off hopping and skipping with far less issues and troubles, while not paying a cent.

GTAIV is a perfect example of this, buy it on Steam... It makes you download and install Games for Windows Live! Then when you think it's all over and done with they force you to install Rockstar Pass, after you have already spent hours downloading and installing it.

These "Media Companies" are to big and greedy for their own goods, they need to realize that people have the right not to buy their over-priced (Especially in Australia) DRM infested crap.

RE: I don't think they realize...
By Noya on 1/23/2012 7:15:51 AM , Rating: 2
I was actually dumb enough to shell out for Avatar at a non-Imax 3D showing for two people. I had a mild headache by the time it was finally over. Dance with Wolves in space in all CGI, and I hate CGI. I remember when T2 and Jurassic Park came out, cool then as I was a kid. Now?...yuck.

But hell... The amount of CRAP telling us NOT to pirate before a movie starts is utter insanity.

I have a friend that pirates DVD's and is a real movie buff. I usually watch a movie with him a few times a month. BAM! straight to the menu and click play. My girl brought a new retail DVD over a few days ago and I couldn't believe the amount of crap that auto-plays before the menu. Made me never want to buy retail again. I mean, I DVR HDTV show so I don't have to sit through commercials.

RE: I don't think they realize...
By kattanna on 1/23/2012 10:43:42 AM , Rating: 5
one thing that really bothers me with a lot of the junk on the DVD's or blue rays is how you cannot skip it.. you try and it tells you action not allowed!! WTF???

RE: I don't think they realize...
By Aikouka on 1/23/2012 2:32:32 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I find that you can almost always skip the advertisements, but not the FBI/Interpol warnings. It isn't always very intuitive though. Typically the "Root Menu" button does not work, but most of the time, another menu button will bring you to the main menu. I believe the one I use on my PS3 remote is, "Top Menu". If that's blocked, typically just hitting "Next" will work.

It's certainly a pain, but sometimes I'll just put the movie in, go do other stuff, and let the movie advertise to an empty couch.

RE: I don't think they realize...
By rrburton on 1/23/2012 12:16:45 PM , Rating: 2
Right on. They don't care if you buy the movie, it the advertising they're worried about. Haha we are paying to be forced to watch ads!

RE: I don't think they realize...
By Reclaimer77 on 1/23/2012 12:30:42 PM , Rating: 3
The only reason TO pirate Avatar is just to see how bad it truly is. That's why I did it. There's no way in HELL I would spend one red cent of my money watching that trash.

I remember when T2 and Jurassic Park came out, cool then as I was a kid. Now?...yuck.

It was also SUPER expensive back then, so it wasn't used in EVERY FREAKING SHOT like Avatar. My guess is that the advances in computing have translated to shorter rendering times, rather than better rendering. In other words, having a better computer won't make a single frame better, but it will make it faster. The special effects were, well..special! Also they used a lot of animatronics (robotic dinosaur props) and went back with CGI just to smooth it in the frame. Not to add things that weren't physically there in the first place.

It's ridiculous that the CGI in Jurassic Park, being that old, holds up so well today and even beats most newer movies. It's because they were really trying to tell a great story, and not JUST make a bunch of money. Also the CGI was just a tool to tell the story, it wasn't actually the story.

If you wanna see just how bad CGI dinosaurs can get, watch that stinkfest of a show Terra Nova. Especially the pilot episode. Jesus Christ...

RE: I don't think they realize...
By bug77 on 1/23/2012 4:18:59 PM , Rating: 2
I believe this is the best Avatar summary ever:

RE: I don't think they realize...
By Paj on 1/24/2012 7:14:32 AM , Rating: 2
Its true. But hey, Harry Potter is identical to Star Wars via the same metric. Theyre just retelling unviersally powerful stories at the end of the day.

By royalcrown on 1/24/2012 12:30:41 PM , Rating: 3
REALLY bad CGI is the HULK movie directed by Ang Lee...worst cgi in any movie ever.

RE: I don't think they realize...
By masamasa on 1/23/2012 5:23:50 PM , Rating: 3
Completely agree. They serve no purpose except to inconvenience the paying customer. Movie and music industry and getting exactly what they deserve. Nothing.

I can't think of all of the crappy films I bought/rented. Films that clearly never should have been released. Same for games. Obvious console ports that were just total junk on the PC. Same with music, album with one good song and the rest is crap.

Now they are getting a taste of their own medicine. I say screw 'em since they've already done that to the consumer. What goes around comes around...

RE: I don't think they realize...
By BZDTemp on 1/22/2012 5:24:30 PM , Rating: 3
It's even less than the $420M if you look at what part of the money ends up in Hollywood. The $20 for the BD would mean money for the store where you bought it, for the company transporting the BD, for the company making the BD, for Sony since they hold the license for the BD medium...

I'd be surprised if more than $10 per copy goes to Hollywood.

RE: I don't think they realize...
By Nyu on 1/23/2012 8:11:39 AM , Rating: 2
Of course they realize, but they'll take every chance to steal more money out of consumers.

RE: I don't think they realize...
By ppardee on 1/23/2012 11:44:20 AM , Rating: 2
Well... yeah. That's their job. The MPAA and RIAA are advocate groups for the industry, not the consumer. They are going to do everything in their power to get as much for their employers as possible. That's not the problem. The problem is that they're using immoral/illegal tactics to do it, and the law makers and courts are complicit.

RE: I don't think they realize...
By JediJeb on 1/23/2012 2:16:09 PM , Rating: 3
I think the last CD I bought was Molly Hatchett's Greatest Hits, and the last DVD I bought was Hell Boy because I found it in the bargain bin several years ago. I pretty much gave up on the new "entertainment" put out these days several years ago. I do like a few of the shows on SciFi like Eureka, Sanctuary(though it has not been as good lately) and Warehouse 13, but other than those I rarely even watch movies or TV or listen to music. The whole industry seems to have moved from as others said good storytelling to simply wash, rinse, repeat, collect the money. They weren't even creative enough to be able to write another script for Star Trek that kept with the depth of the original stories, instead they had to make a new timeline and turn it into just another over the top action/thriller with emphasis on effects and action to make up for lack of story.

I am not angry that the industry is trying to hold on to the money due them, but rather angry that they think people are so numb that they should take anything they produce and believe it is the best thing ever made.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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