The time to fix the roof, new Motion Picture Association of America President Dan Glickman says, is when the sun is still shining.
Borrowing that observation from President John F. Kennedy, Glickman was on the stump in Washington this week campaigning for a crackdown on digital and other forms of piracy before the industry suffers the same fate as the music industry, which has been hammered by illegal song sharing.
In speeches to the Media Institute and National Press Club, Glickman argued that the easy copying of copyrighted material poses potentially the most serious threat to his industry.
Glickman said he was speaking from personal experience, given that his son, Jonathan Glickman, is a movie producer with Spyglass Entertainment. He says that within three days of the opening of his son's film, Mr. 3000, the senior Glickman was able to buy a videotape copy on the streets of D.C. And for the film, Rush Hour, Glickman said a digital copy--"likely an inside job," he says--was available a month "before" its release. "You can't compete with free," he told his audience.
The MPAA campaign will be on several fronts. It's suits against illegal peer-to-peer traders will begin next week he says, but it must be buttressed by a lobbying campaign in Washington and an educational campaign in the general public.
On the issue of the FCC's indecency crackdown and threats of a similar move against violence, Glickman said that as a parent and grandparent he understands the concern, but he is troubled by any attempts to codify that concern. On the violence issue, he points out that such calls are subjective, that the research has been politicized, that there is no established link between media violence and real life, and that at the same time that complaints against media violence have increased, violent crime has steadily declined.
"Information, rather than restricting access to information, is the best strategy," he said.