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Harvey Weinstein still thinks Silicon Valley is stealing his content

Kris Connor/Getty Images for The Weinstein C

Harvey Weinstein speaks during a panel discussion after a screeing of the documentary "Bully" at MPAA in Washington, DC. The producer has become an outspoken critic of the "Open Internet," calling it "stealing."

In the ongoing battle between Hollywood and Silicon Valley over the future of entertainment,  two major events - one tragic, the other, comical - have defined the last few weeks.

The tragedy was the apparent suicide of "Open Internet" activist Aaron Swartz. It provoked an outpouring of support for Swartz's at-times radical vision and returned the debate about whether online content should roam free of copyrigh to the national agenda. 

The comedy was Kim Dotcom, whose Megaupload site was shut down by the U.S. government last year on the grounds that it was enabling Internet content piracy. Dotcom (not his real name) rolled out a new site last weekend, from the relative safety of New Zealand. He isn't even messing around with the "upload" part any more; the new site is simply called "Mega."

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Harvey Weinstein goes to London and praises Sarkozy, whales on Silicon Valley

Kris Connor/Getty Images for The Weinstein C

Harvey Weinstein has had just about enough of you Internet content pirates and proposes a draconian "French" solution.

If, in the aftermath of the Stop Online Piracy Act/Prevent IP Act (SOPA/PIPA) battle, you thought that only the most intense financiers of Silicon Valley continue to obsess over threats to the "open Internet, we give you...Harvey Weinstein! The Hollywood Reporter catches up with the outspoken producer in England, where he took the occasion of addressing the BFI London Film Festival to absolutely lay into Big Tech.

But first, he heaped praise on recently dethroned French President Nicholas Sarkozy (who awarded Weinstein the prestigious Légion d'honneur prior to leaving office):

"Whether you like his politics or not, this law was good," Weinstein said, "because people are disincentified to steal."

He said the results also could be seen in a country where 260 French movies were made last year, and difficult funding propositions, like the €14 million ($18 million) black-and-white silent film The Artist, could find people to fund it.

"You get a robust local industry from it," he said.

Weinstein's speech was full of humor and barbed observations.

"I love it when these Internet dudes say to me, ‘Hey man, we just want to be 'content neutral,' " Weinstein noted. "Next time, I'll say, 'Sure, I'll get my tie-dye shirt and come and sit in your billion dollar mansion in San Francisco or Silicon Valley for a while, soak it up.'"

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