Former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, now chairman/CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, delivered a State of the Industry address at Las Vegas's CinemaCon on Tuesday. The annual convention gathers movie theater owners and the studios for a preview of the year's major releases. It's also a trade meeting where the topics include marketing to niche audiences and new regulations pertaining to food concessions.
Dodd's speech focused on fighting piracy and he also promoted a new site to help audiences find content legally.
He emphasized the economic impact of the film industry, opening with a video of a mechanic who works in the industry before citing 1.9 million workers in the United States whose jobs either directly or indirectly depend on movies and television. (The MPAA's website notes that 302,000 of those jobs are directly part of the industry.)
"We, all of us who make our home in this industry, must stand up and speak out to protect their jobs, and our industry, by spreading this message, whether in movie theaters, the best place to enjoy their presentation, or on television, or streaming legally online – where you watch film matters," Dodd said in his speech.
Dodd said that hundreds of thousands of jobs are threatened by film piracy, and thanked National Association of Theatre Owners head John Fithian for aiding in the fight. He talked about the MPAA's new site, WhereToWatch.com, which helps aggregate where to watch film and TV legally, from finding movie times or sites where content is streaming or available for purchase.
Dodd went on to cite the Constitution in his discourse on piracy.
"Let me quote to you what our founders wrote into the Constitution of our nation 226 years ago in 1789 about this abiding principle of copyright: 'To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.'"
Dodd noted that copyright is also hugely important in other industries, specifically citing tech.
"Those creators too rely on copyright, intellectual property, and patents to protect their work and contribute to the next great ideas and innovations. That is why all of us must ensure that future generations will have the same opportunities to fulfill their creative ambitions and profit from them, if they so wish."
Dodd cited a number of major releases coming later this year for the industry to be excited about: superhero films "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Ant-Man" and "Fantastic Four"; family films "Hotel Transylvania 2," "Minions" and "Tomorrowland"; and new films in the "Mission Impossible," James Bond, "Jurassic Park" and "Star Wars" franchises.
Dodd bookended his speech by closing with another video clip, this one of a costume illustrator.