MPAA Head Christopher Dodd Hails China's Alibaba for Halting Sales of Pirated Movies and Music

Mark Wilson/Getty Images is the world's largest B2B e-commerce site, owned partly by Yahoo.

BEIJING – The head of Hollywood’s leading lobby group has praised, the world’s largest B2B e-commerce web site, a Beijing-based company part owned by giant US web portal Yahoo, for halting its sale of discs that contain pirated movies and music.

Former US senator Christopher Dodd, the chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, applauded Alibaba’s ban of the listing on its websites of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs with audio visual content as major step in the fight against intellectual property theft in China.

“The MPA’s Asia Pacific and China offices have been working with Alibaba over the last two years to eradicate the plague of counterfeit discs finding their way into the US and other international markets,” Dodd said in a statement from Washington, D.C. Dodd plans a June 13 appearance at the Shanghai International Film Festival.

“This initiative is a bold and positive step in protecting the livelihoods of millions of people in filmmaking communities across the globe. They have recognized that all of us have a shared responsibility to deter these criminals who seek to live off the hard work and passion of others by selling counterfeit products,” Dodd said.

China is the world’s fastest-growing film market, where growing middle class consumer confidence boosted ticket sales 64% in 2010 to $1.5 billion.

Much of that growth resulted from the sale of ticket to imported films, including many from Hollywood, which historically have out grossed local films in spite of an annual 20-title cap on the imported films allowed to share a percentage of their box office take.

Dodd will arrive in Shanghai, then visit China’s state-run film industry regulatory establishment in Beijing, with a fraught relationship to manage in his first months on the job.

The MPAA appointed Dodd its head in March, the same month that China was supposed to allow greater foreign participation in the distribution of films, books and music in compliance with a World Trade Organization ruling. Thus far, China has told the WTO to be patient.

Yahoo bought a 40 percent stake in Alibaba for $1 billion in 2005. Many analysts believe the successful Chinese e-commerce company is among Yahoo's most valuable assets.