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Sunday, January 16, 2005
The Homeland, the Religion and the Copyright

1. Page 1

Jack Valenti is the man in power of the film industry. Being the Chairman and the managing director of the Motion Picture Association of America, he became particularly known in the years 1983-84 when he relentlessly fought against the new invention of the time, the home video. He brought a suit against Sony, the overpowering due to the Betamax system company in the market at the time, and demanded from the American courts of law that they ban these devices on the grounds that they were the media to the “expropriation of intellectual property”: anyone possessing such a device could copy (steal as he had put it) a movie shown on TV without imbursing the copyright to its creators and naturally to the companies he himself represented. The case reached the USA Supreme Court, which ruled out his plaint taking under consideration the fact that copying a movie shown on TV for personal use was justifiable and furthermore, a technology was not to be banned just because it had a negative impact on a branch of industry. Valenti was taken aback not so much by the definitive judgment of the court as by what was to follow in the market: the VCR became a second golden goose to the film companies which, through video clubs sold the same product for a second time-cash flowing into their tills, at lower prices though. As for the ones who copied films, they finally were proved to be a minor threat to the profits of the film industry.

Years passed by, Sony, from a technology producer has become a film producer as well, Jack Valenti remains the man in power of the industry and a new threat has started baring its teeth against the film companies’ tills. Digital technology allows all users to replicate exact copies of every intellectual product and the Internet helps to their immediate exchange.

Content-selling companies indulged in ruthless judicial conflicts: the Record Companies Association versus Napster, the Motion Picture Association versus the users of the program that unlatches DVD discs. Apart from all these, a huge public relations campaign was launched to persuade the public that “what is to the Warner Brothers benefit, is America’s welfare too.”

“The copyright industry (record companies, cinema companies and publishing houses) has opened three times as many work places as the rest of the American economy”, claims Jack Valenti in the Newsweek desktop version, “its exports are larger than the ones accomplished by the aviation industry, agriculture and the automobile industry. It has achieved commercial benefit with all the countries of the world, when the rest of the economy bleeds due to commercial deficits amounting the unholy sum of 277 billion dollars.

What amazes mostly, is the fact that the copyright industry is universally acceptable. America’s productions are pleasantly assimilated by every civilization, doctrine and country on this planet. American cinema is omnipresent throughout the world…

“Now the Internet has turned up. American film producers have welcomed this novel miracle. For the film industry, it has a huge potential as a new system of distribution…




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