Vice President Joe Biden said at a Motion Picture Association of America event Friday that the film industry presents America to the world and deserves creative protection.
Speaking at MPAA’s second annual Creativity Conference in Washington, Biden said that without adequate protection for U.S. creative content, America would lose one of its key engines of innovations.
“In the 21st century the true wealth of the nation is found in the creative minds of its people,” said Biden (pictured in a file photo).
He decried piracy’s growth from “a man in a movie theater with a camcorder.”
“Now the face of piracy is also a computer server in a far-off country stealing an illegal version of a Hollywood movie and sending it around the world to rob you, steal from you” he said. Biden pointed specifically to Kim Dotcom Megaupload.
“Taking someone else’s intellectual property is theft, plain and simple,” he said, adding that it was theft not just from creators, but from “the United States Gross National Product.”
He added: “The face of America isn’t the diplomat or the soldier. It is our businesses and our culture.” He said that culture also includes athletes and our musicians.
The comments came at the start of a weekend that also includes the White House Correspondents Association dinner, where politicians often break bread with the entertainment industry.
There was a bipartisan feel to the call for creative protections, as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, said people need to understand that consumers “have to pay” to see movies if they want new ones to be made.
“We have to make it as hard as possible to steal, and stop people who steal other people’s work,” he said.
The conference, co-sponsored by ABC and Microsoft, also included Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production; filmmakers Tony Goldwyn and Morgan Spurlock; Amy Powell, president of Paramount TV and Paramount’s Insurge Pictures and Digital Entertainments; and William Sherak, co-president of content creation for Deluxe Entertainment Service Group.
Bailey said globalization is bringing changes to the film industry, and that story ideas now come from all over the world. He said production decisions reflect a desire “to be part of the world today,” and noted that a number of recent successes were unexpected.