Frith exiting Canada distrib group

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TORONTO -- Douglas Frith, president of the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Assn., is stepping down as the Hollywood studios' Canadian point-man after 12 years in the role.

Frith said Friday that he will continue to handle government relations in Ottawa and the Canadian provinces for the major studios through a newly opened consultancy.

Frith will be replaced by veteran intellectual property lawyer Wendy Noss, who has served as general counsel for the CMPDA since 2006 and is now being promoted to acting executive director.

"Wendy is a tremendous advocate for the motion picture industry and there is no executive more qualified to assume this position," MPAA COO Bob Pisano said in a statement.

Frith pointed to recently secured anti-camcording legislation in Canada and the part he played in encouraging a recent round of tax credit hikes here in announcing his exit.

"This is a good time for a career change, and a chance to go back to what I do best, government relations," Frith said Friday.

He added that his one regret was not seeing the Canadian government introduce comprehensive copyright reforms and protections during his tenure with the CMPDA.

In December, Ottawa delayed the introduction of proposed amendments to the federal Copyright Act to crack down on copyright infringements until early 2008.

Noss said it was crucial that the Canadian government modernize its copyright laws and ratify the 1996 WIPO copyright and Internet treaties, to ensure continued innovation by its domestic entertainment industry.

"There's no question that the track record in Canada is a matter of serious concern," Noss said of persistent criticism from Los Angeles and Washington about intellectual property violations north of the border.
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