Berlin: MPAA Boss Says Film, TV Industries Are at 'Crossroads' Over Copyright Protections

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MPAA chairman Chris Dodd

Chris Dodd touts collaborations between Hollywood and Germany, such as "The Monuments Men" and Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel," and says content and tech firms must work together.

BERLIN – MPAA chairman and CEO Chris Dodd attended an event on the sidelines of the Berlinale Thursday, highlighting the need to protect copyrights and the future of the increasingly global creative sector.

Speaking at an event entitled "Hollywood & Germany - Some like it close," he called on the global film community to help ensure copyright protection and lauded recent U.S.-Germany film collaborations such as George Clooney's The Monuments Men and Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel.

"The film and television industry stands at a crossroads today, which will determine its future for years to come," Dodd said. "We owe it to future creators and filmmakers to ensure they have the same opportunities as those who came before to be part of this remarkable industry."

Addressing copyright rules, Dodd said he was "not frightened of reviewing or reforming copyright," but said copyright rules shouldn't be "eroded."

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At the event, organized by the MPAA and law firm Morrison & Foerster, the MPAA boss said content and technology companies should collaborate rather than go up against each other in the digital age.

"New technology has made the international exchange of cultural and entertainment content faster, easier and increasingly, a two-way street," he said. "Technology and content need to live with each other. … Technology needs content, and content needs technology."

Dodd also said that the MPAA wants co-productions between the U.S. and Germany, as well as other countries, to continue. He cited Life of Pi as an example of the increasingly global collaborations. Based on a book by a Canadian and directed by Taiwan's Ang Lee with Indian actors and a U.S. distributor, the film is a role model, Dodd said. "That's the future."

Dodd opened by saying he was "delighted to be here at the Berlinale," adding that Germany is a country "so deeply committed" to film. Mentioning that there are about 5,000 festivals around the world, he quipped: "I don't make every one."

During a following panel discussion with high-profile industry executives from Germany and the U.S., Fox Searchlight senior vp business affairs Megan O'Brien said Budapest Hotel was a good experience for her company. "Having pictures that have international appeal … is really important," she said. "It is important to … also break out into the international market."

Peter McPartlin, COO of Indian Paintbrush, which is also behind Budapest Hotel, added he is hoping to return to the country with a future production. "We are actively looking for projects to film in Germany," he said.

Twitter: @georgszalai