Chris Dodd Resorting To Outright Lying In A Desperate Attempt To Get SOPA Passed

from the regret-the-error? dept

MPAA boss Chris Dodd has apparently resorted to out and out lying as he makes a big push to get SOPA passed. On Tuesday he spoke at an event for the Center for American Progress, in which he pulled out his usual “woe is us” story about why Congress needs to pass SOPA/PIPA. However, Dodd, once again, appears to be factually challenged. For example, during questions, Dodd claimed:


?The entire film industry of Spain, Egypt and Sweden are gone.?

James Losey thought this was odd, given that he was familiar with some films coming out of Sweden:


Sweden actually produces a number of high quality films. Released in 2008, the vampire flim Let The Right One In received critical acclaim here in the U.S. Additionally, all three best-selling books of the Millennium Trilogy are Swedish films and 2009?s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was quite successful. The film made a modest $10 million in the U.S. and a respectable $104 million worldwide.

Considering the budget for the U.S. remake of the film is $100 million – as much as the original film has earned to date – perhaps Dodd meant that the film does not count until Hollywood gets a chance to remake it. Ironically, the U.S. remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was shot in Sweden.

Chris Dodd was correct to say that film is an international industry, but he was wrong to say that the Swedish film industry has disappeared and misleading to imply that all Hollywood jobs are American jobs. At least for this Hollywood production, Sweden has a lot to gain.

Of course, there’s also plenty of actual data on the film industries around the world, so I figured that perhaps I’d dig into the numbers a bit more than James’ excellent debunking, just to see if there was any truth to Dodd’s bizarre claims. Thankfully, the folks at the UN actually track this data. On top of that, the awesome chartsbin has laid out how many films every country produces in a neat interactive map:

via chartsbin.com


Let’s start with Sweden. I think the chart above is a bit out of date. Looking through the UN data, it shows that Sweden produced 41 feature films in 2009 — actually a significant increase from 2007 and 2008. No sign that the industry is “gone” there. But perhaps it used to be much bigger? Back to the UN we go… to learn that in 1995, Sweden made 17 feature films. Gone? Sorry, the facts say Dodd is lying.

Okay. Let’s look at Egypt. The latest UN data shows Egypt produced 46 films in 2009. Not bad. But perhaps it used to be much bigger? Oh, whoops. 1996 (the earliest data available) shows that Egypt produced 24 films that year. So it looks like the industry has about doubled. Gone? Oops. Dodd is lying.

Finally, let’s check out Spain. Spain has been a favorite target of both the MPAA and the RIAA lately. They like to claim that “lax” copyright laws there have decimated the entertainment industry in that country. Once again, the facts show a totally different story. If you look at the map above, you can see that Spain is actually a movie making powerhouse in Europe, and the data shows that it just keeps making more and more movies. In 2009 it produced 186 movies, and the trend has been directly up. In 2008 it was 173. Go back to 2005 and it was 142. Go back to 1999? 82 films. Back to ’95? 59 films. Yeah, film production has more than tripled in the last fifteen years.

Sorry, but Chris Dodd is flat out lying.

Why do the public and politicians let him get away with blatant falsehoods as he seeks to push a law that will set up an American censorship system? The facts say that he’s full of it… and yet we’re supposed to trust him that this bill is needed?

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Comments on “Chris Dodd Resorting To Outright Lying In A Desperate Attempt To Get SOPA Passed”

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87 Comments
PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Incomplete statistics

“In any case, an American company (involved with the MPAA) could certainly film a movie in Spain, Egypt, or Sweden.”

Why would that be relevant in discussing the point at hand? The decision to produce a movie in a particular country vs another usually has something to do with tax breaks and other incentives. “Piracy”, frankly, has bugger all to do with that decision unless the necessary infrastructure is unavailable.

The claim is that domestic productions within those countries have been completely killed off. This claim is false, no matter how many MPAA production companies decide to film (or not) in those areas.

Anonymoussays:

“The latest UN data shows Egypt produced 46 films in 2009. Not bad. But perhaps it used to be much bigger? Oh, whoops. 1996 (the earliest data available) shows that Egypt produced 24 films that year. So it looks like the industry has about doubled.”

Umm, number of films, which are, according to you guys, easy and cheap to produce, has doubled. Has the industry grown in dollars or shrunk?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well, here’s the thing. If the only movies are the local version of “sita sings the blues” and the major movie makers have all collapsed, perhaps he is right.

See, without sales numbers and backing information, it’s sort of hard to really know. Mike’s lack of supporting information (selecting number of films is a tricky way to avoid the issue) is sort of transparent.

Remember, the US film industry almost doubled the number of releases, but made little or no more money. Number of releases isn’t an indication of health, only an indication of the ease by which a “movie” can be made at some level.

Mark Murphysays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Number of releases isn’t an indication of health, only an indication of the ease by which a “movie” can be made at some level.

Making more money is no more an indication of “health” than is the number of releases. It all depends on one’s definition of “health”.

For many people, having twice as many releases for no more money would be the epitome of health, as twice as many visions get to market without the public having to pay more for the benefit.

For some people, having one movie with compulsory viewing by the public for thousands of dollars per head would be considered the epitome of health, simply because it brings in more money, without regard to any other considerations.

Planespottersays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Maybe if they didn’t spend $100 million to make a film, also produced quality rather than poor remakes of 50’s classics and didn’t put everything out in 3D they might make a bit more cash.

Apart from that he said GONE, as in NO ONE is making films in Spain, Sweden and Egypt…. liar, liar pants on fire!

Atkraysays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Protip

Grasping at straws to defend a liar hurts your credibility.

The story uses United Nations figures a fairly well established organization. Dodd said the entire industries were gone. If just one of the three counties is still making even one movie a year he lied.

Clearly Dodd is a liar, probably an idiot too for making such a ridiculous and easily disprovable statement, but bare minimum a liar.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

If the only movies are the local version of “sita sings the blues” and the major movie makers have all collapsed, perhaps he is right.

Yes, and if monkeys flew out of my butt, I could open a circus!

without sales numbers and backing information, it’s sort of hard to really know.

Except that we do know. Just because you stick your fingers in your ears and say “LALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU LALALALA” doesn’t meant that there isn’t evidence presented.

the US film industry almost doubled the number of releases, but made little or no more money.

Bullshit. Due to Hollywood Accounting, the “US film industry” has been “making little or no money” for 100 years, but somehow keeps running. You’d think that if they were really as poor as they keep claiming, they would have thrown in the towel by now.

hothmonstersays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“See, without sales numbers and backing information, it’s sort of hard to really know. Dodd’s lack of supporting information (making a statement without any sort of supporting evidence) is sort of transparent. It’s clear he is willing to make anything up on the spot to support his position.”

FTFY

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Remember, the US film industry almost doubled the number of releases, but made little or no more money.

Really?

Avatar – $2.7 Billion ($760 Million US)
Harry Potter & Deathly Hallows Part 2 – $1.3 billion
Transformers 3 – $1.1 billion
Pirates 4 – $1 billion
Smurfs – $560 million
Cars 2 – $551 Million
Rio – $484 million
Rise of the Planet of the Apes – $481 million

and I could list a LOT more

Paranormal Activity 3 ($5 mil to make) – $201 million.

The Adventures of Tintin has already made $233 million and it hasn’t even opened in the US yet.

Record Year for Paramount in 2011:
http://boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=3088&p=.htm
(and that’s just the US market, where many movies are only making 1/4 to 1/3 of their gross).

Earnings are up, profits are up:
http://www.deadline.com/2010/08/disney-profit-jumps-40-on-espn-film-every-hollywood-studio-boosted-earnings/

You must have a different definition of “little of no money” than the rest of the planet.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

“If the only movies are the local version of “sita sings the blues” and the major movie makers have all collapsed, perhaps he is right.”

Yes, we get it, you’re the asshole who watched a movie legally for free once and didn’t like it. Others did, so what?

Let The Right One In is my favourite horror movie of the 2000s (I named it the best horror movie of that decade on my admittedly minor blog). That alone tells me you are wrong IMHO, though admittedly I’m not familiar with a lot of the output of that country. I can say I’m bought all of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s books on the strength of that film and own the entire Millennium trilogy on the basis of watching those films. Low quality, they’re not. I’m also sadly unfamiliar with Egyptian cinema, though if the locals like it enough to support a growing industry, who cares what us foreigners think?

Spain, on the other hand? I’m familiar with local output here. Check out the [REC] movies, Cell 211, Black Bread, Time Crimes, The Skin I Live In and Even The Rain. Then try telling me that Transformers 3 and Twilight represent better cinema. I’ll try not to fall over laughing when you do.

Jeffrey Nonkensays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Onus probandi. Dodd’s lack of ANY information for his assertion puts the burden of proof on him. Mike at least did some basic research and came up with some numbers. Now you’re trying to shift the burden of proof back onto Mike and, by the way, your hand-waving doesn’t constitute an argument. If you honestly think Mike’s numbers are wrong you need to come up with some better numbers.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actually, it’s “Sita Sings the Blues” and the likes of it that make tolerating the nauseating “movie industry” worth the while.

You miss the point of it all: for art to be made and for artists to thrive. People like Dodd and the shareholders of showbiz are parasites on the creative process. Art was made and appreciated before they existed. Artists weren’t that worse off either. Granted, many artists probably didn’t have enough money to swim in personal open warm pools in winter.

The reason we, as a society, tolerate the skimming off of profits by showbiz shareholders is that we consider them enablers of art. It turns out that they also enable noise to drown signal, mindless entertainment to obliterate any kind of contemplative art, and they do anything to make some more bucks. We really need to review the raison d’etre of the roles these people fill.

hothmonstersays:

Re: Re:

Well seeing as how the output doubled I am going to guess grown or stayed the same. Wait no Ill just pull a Dodd: The film industry in Egypt has 30 times the profits it did in 1992. In fact this year alone Egypt’s film industry is on pace to make 15x as much revenue as all of Hollywoods films ever combined.

(Ohh I see why he does this, its way easier then actually getting facts and way easier to support my position.) In fact hundreds of recent studies have shown that if the internet had never been invented the movie and music industries would have gone completely bankrupt and every would entertain themselves solely by farting on snare drums.

Jaysays:

Re: Re:

The industry has shrunk due to Arab Springs taking over soap operas in Egypt. But the Egyptian movie industry thrived the most in the 1930s and 1940s. In recent years, most directors were more worried about short term gains, affecting the quality of the movies, causing the Egyptian box office to stagnate. What I predict is more documentaries will come around, regarding the Arab Springs movement, then a massive surge of Egyptian folkhero movies, then it could normalize. But even then, I doubt that the industry won’t grow after the Springs movement changes their government.

anonymous coward #23452345says:

Re: Re:

If more films are being made then the overall money coming in will be larger just because there are more products on the market, while the individual money coming in for one movie can go down because of competition.

So the number of films being made is the best way to tell how the industry is actually doing… as if it was doing badly there would be less money to make films.

jupiterkansassays:

Re: Re:

Check out “Red Cliff” on Netflix you’ll see that China can easily top Hollywood when it comes to giant action epics – and for less than $100 million.

China is making giant movies on the cheap, but Americans won’t watch them because they don’t speak Engrish. Hell, that’s why they have to remake Swedish films. The real problem isn’t Hollywood, it’s Americans.

Anonymoussays:

..and in case we get ...

.. “but that was two years ago – obviously the industries in those countries could have disappeared since 2009!”

Let’s look at IMDB (a non-exhaustive list, but one that’s easy to find appropriate numbers):

Egypt: 2011 has 62 titles, up from 54 in 2010 and 51 in 2009.
http://www.imdb.com/search/title?countries=eg&explore=year

Spain: 2011 has 1,038 titles, down from 1333 in 2010, but down slightly from the 1,084 in 2009.
http://www.imdb.com/search/title?countries=es&explore=year

Sweden: 2011 has 301 titles, down from 322 in 2010 but up from the 286 in 2009.
http://www.imdb.com/search/title?countries=se&explore=year

So yeah – I guess these countries entertainment industries should be sending Dodd a letter informing him that the reports of their demise has been greatly exaggerated.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: ..and in case we get ...

Doesn’t really mean anything without factoring the budget into it.

Of course it means something – it means that DODD IS A LIAR, and that his claims are 100% false.

Spain for example, could’ve spent much more money on their 1,038 movies than they did on their 1,333. . . maybe making bigger bets on a less number of movies.

And how, specifically, would that mean that they no longer exist? If they can make “bigger bets”, then by definition they still exist, and you are an industry shill trying to divert attention away from the fact that you are attempting to defend a lie.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: ..and in case we get ...

I know this confuses you, but money != quality. Just because you spend $300 million on a film, that doesn’t mean it will actually be any good. More money does not mean a better movie, and that can certainly backfire at the box office.

It also means the movie can lose you more. What would you rather have had this year, for example – the theatrical profit from the $90 million movie Conan The Barbarian, or from the $30 million movie Hanna? Ooops, you said Conan? Sorry, that took less than $50 million worldwide while Hanna took $63 million. Maybe you’ll get lucky on secondary markets.

Joe Karaganissays:

Another minor detail...

The main problem facing the film industries in other countries is not piracy but Hollywood domination of domestic markets. Hollywood productions own 67% of the European market, for example. 80-90% of most developing countries. And what do pirates pirate? It’s not European film:

http://piracy.ssrc.org/the-european-strategy-send-money-to-the-us-part-deux/

Anonymoussays:

It also seems odd that Dodd would mention Sweden. I mean, Sweden, as home of the Pirate Bay, has some special significance to MPAA. But it’s a country with a population somewhat smaller than Michigan’s, and a GDP a little smaller than Ohio’s. Yet it still manages to produce more than 40 feature-length films in a year? Wow.
To be fair, according to the Swedish Film Institute (http://www.sfi.se/), a big chunk of those were documentaries, and the numbers of actual “feature films” were: 32 in 2009; 28 in 2010. And granted, Sweden has some cultural and language reasons for having a slightly outsized film industry. But that’s still rather impressive. More features per capita than the US. Not bad for a “gone” industry.

Violatedsays:

CrAzY

I can well understand why he said that the movie industries of Spain, Egypt and Sweden are gone.

This is no different to when you download a movie from the Internet they say it is “Stolen” when we of course all know this one act causes all cinema screening to end, the planned DVD roll-out never happens, and all hope for TV screenings are gone.

So of course Spain, Egypt and Sweden are now wastelands due to their lax laws allowing these “evil pirates” to run off with all their movies thus depriving them of all sales and profit!

I think we should keep a close eye on Chris Dodd. Living one’s life in a fantasy world is a clear medical condition and we made need to have him committed for public safety.

RGravessays:

I’m just confused why SoCal is blue not black… I mean come on some of those studios down there drop 300 movies a month.

Is the artistic merit of classics like “Ass-Worshipping Rim-Jobbers”, “Cumming in Socks”, “Cum On Eileen”, “Men Alone II: The KY Connection” or “Best of Both Worlds” not worthy of a little love and a smack on the ass?

Chrissays:

Illuminati

WE were told this would happen by Fritz Springmeir 13 YEARS ago so everyones finding this “INTERNET CENSORSHIP” and PROTECT IP and saying WTF! I DONT WANT THAT! well its too late i bet anything, no matter what we do as a people, its still gonna pass… nothing we can do to stop it.. where is our freedom of speech? IT’s FUCKIN GONE! and its been gone since the 1950s. but whatever keep tryin cuz its already over

ivanbishopsays:

U.S. is a rapidly becoming a 3rd world backwater,

So, the US government, not liking its filthy laundry (like its support for Saudi – who bombed us…) shutdown wikileaks.

It doesn’t understand the need of most people to
see/hear “what they want, when they want, on the device of their choice”

Every other country seems too.

The increasing xeonophobic tendencies coming from the poorly educated, but vocal and powerful, American government (not its people) shows a vast degree of ignorance, hubris and arrogance.

I’d suggest that if the U.S. government starts interfering with Internet operations outside of their borders through
the courts or direct ‘hacking action’ (as the claimed to have done in Iran) that punitive retaliatory measures be applied to their software/hardware/network vendors.

The school yard bully is here, not the benign world ‘police man’

What the US government is proposing is just another extension of their base ignorance.

Today is Silicon valley, where I live, the Internet GIANTS have TOLD the conceited politicians how hurtful their pitiful legislation is.

Not wanting to use the ITC shows the typical US government
ignorance over using the international courts as they know best…

They seem to think THEY set the law and we must all follow.

NO.

That simple.

ivanbishopsays:

U.S. is a rapidly becoming a 3rd world backwater,

So, the US government, not liking its filthy laundry (like its support for Saudi – who bombed us…) shutdown wikileaks.

It doesn’t understand the need of most people to
see/hear “what they want, when they want, on the device of their choice”

Every other country seems too.

The increasing xeonophobic tendencies coming from the poorly educated, but vocal and powerful, American government (not its people) shows a vast degree of ignorance, hubris and arrogance.

I’d suggest that if the U.S. government starts interfering with Internet operations outside of their borders through
the courts or direct ‘hacking action’ (as the claimed to have done in Iran) that punitive retaliatory measures be applied to their software/hardware/network vendors.

The school yard bully is here, not the benign world ‘police man’

What the US government is proposing is just another extension of their base ignorance.

Today is Silicon valley, where I live, the Internet GIANTS have TOLD the conceited politicians how hurtful their pitiful legislation is.

Not wanting to use the ITC shows the typical US government
ignorance over using the international courts as they know best…

They seem to think THEY set the law and we must all follow.

NO.

That simple.

ivanbishopsays:

U.S. is a rapidly becoming a 3rd world backwater,

So, the US government, not liking its filthy laundry (like its support for Saudi – who bombed us…) shutdown wikileaks.

It doesn’t understand the need of most people to
see/hear “what they want, when they want, on the device of their choice”

Every other country seems too.

The increasing xeonophobic tendencies coming from the poorly educated, but vocal and powerful, American government (not its people) shows a vast degree of ignorance, hubris and arrogance.

I’d suggest that if the U.S. government starts interfering with Internet operations outside of their borders through
the courts or direct ‘hacking action’ (as the claimed to have done in Iran) that punitive retaliatory measures be applied to their software/hardware/network vendors.

The school yard bully is here, not the benign world ‘police man’

What the US government is proposing is just another extension of their base ignorance.

Today is Silicon valley, where I live, the Internet GIANTS have TOLD the conceited politicians how hurtful their pitiful legislation is.

Not wanting to use the ITC shows the typical US government
ignorance over using the international courts as they know best…

They seem to think THEY set the law and we must all follow.

NO.

That simple.

Mimisays:

You do not get it

Online piracy in these counties particularly Spain has destroyed the import market. Local distributors in Spain cannot earn enough revenues to license and import foreign films including U.S. content. Many Spainish independent distributors have gone out of business and the value of Spain when looking at the worldwide value of a feature film have diminished significantly, by approx 60 – 70%. This has little effect on local production except that the budgets of those films would be greatly reduced as they have less value in their own market however it has vast effects on local distributors in those markets and the films that cannot be imported there.

jupiterkansassays:

Re: Re: You do not get it

In other words, a superior service had made your distribution business obsolete. This is not a bad thing!

Here in America, Blockbuster video rental stores have pretty much disappeared from the face of the earth. Nobody is crying about it or trying to legislate it back from the grave even though many jobs have been lost. It’s just another out-dated, resource heavy, costly distribution system that has been replaced by cheaper, more efficient, and modern system.

If anything, this sounds like an opportunity to make more movies in Spain rather than relying on Hollywood to entertain you. Serve the market that Hollywood isn’t with Spanish language films.

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