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MPAA Chief Chris Dodd Dodges Anne Hathaway-vs.-Jennifer Lawrence Debate

Chris Dodd MPAA P 2012
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The major studios' rep didn't get drawn into the Oscar fray during a visit to Ottawa, but he addressed the issue of movie piracy seriously.

OTTAWA -- There was no ensnaring MPAA chairman Chris Dodd in Canada's Anne Hathaway-vs.-Jennifer Lawrence debate during a visit this week.

“I’m so glad I came for that first question,” the former U.S. senator said when asked during an keynote interview why Canadian viewers of the recent Oscar telecast hated Hathaway and loved Lawrence as both picked up major Academy Awards.

“They both obviously did a terrific job with their movies, but I’m not getting in the middle,” Dodd declared. “But I thought Bradley Cooper was rather good. How’s that for ducking your question?”

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Dodd then got serious in addressing the issue of movie and TV piracy, which in the past has landed Canada in hot water with the U.S. government over copyright policies only recently revamped for the digital age.

Dodd took aim at those who call piracy a victimless crime.

“Tell that to the 130,000 people in [Canada] who get up every morning and go to work in the film and TV industry,” he said.

At the same time, Dodd said the major studios were less heavy-handed and prone to lawsuits than in the past while progress was made on the file.

“We’re getting some positive results,” he told his Canadian audience, noting that Google recently introduced a new anti-piracy algorithm and ad brokers guarded against their content appearing on illegal sites.

Dodd also pointed to the increasing use of copyright removal notices to dissuade people from consuming illegal content as more “educational” and less punitive.

The MPAA chief said the major studios were looking to see whether current efforts would pay off before throwing their weight around.

“To me, it probably makes sense to go that way -- looking for cooperation rather than getting into some huge battle on the floors of Parliament or Congress,” he argued.

The Prime Time conference, organized by the Canadian Media Production Association, wraps Friday.