The MPAA is currently involved in legal battles against several BitTorrent sites. Last year Hollywood’s lobby organization booked a victory in court when they managed to shut TorrentSpy down, but despite these efforts the studio bosses are still not satisfied. Three of the MPAA’s anti-piracy leaders have now been fired.
Earlier this year we reported that MPAA President Dan Glickman is likely to be thrown out after his contract ends in 2010. Unlike his predecessor, Jack Valenti, who held the office for 38 years, the studio heads plan to ditch Glickman after just 6 years.
However, Glickman is not the only one to be critiqued by Hollywood’s bosses. Cnet reports that the MPAA has already fired three leaders of its anti-piracy operations. The MPAA’s general counsel Greg Goeckner has been told to leave at the end of the year, and their director of worldwide anti-piracy operations and the deputy director of Internet anti-piracy have also been fired.
Sources in the film industry said that the three were thrown out because the anti-piracy operations of the MPAA were unsatisfactory, and “lacked aggressiveness.” The MPAA’s anti-piracy division will not cease its activities though, but in addition to the layoffs it will remove the term ‘anti-piracy’ from its name and replace it with ‘content protection’.
Under their new name they will continue to go after the BitTorrent site isoHunt – whose owner they promised to hunt down for life – and other sites they believe are a cause of movie industry losses. Unlike the RIAA, the MPAA has refrained from going after individual downloaders, and thus far there has been no indication that this will change anytime soon.
Legal battles aside, the main task of the MPAA will be to lobby for tougher anti-piracy legislation, a role that is now mostly fulfilled by music industry trade groups such as the BPI and IFPI.
The current layoffs are most likely the result of the rapidly increasing piracy rate of movies. However, instead of changing their name and replacing a few heads, the movie studio bosses have to consider whether legislating and lobbying is the right move to beat piracy. Maybe they should consider adapting to the digital era by making it easy for consumers to download legally at reasonable prices.