Space Ramblings

Schwartznegger Fights the MPAA’s War in Canada

All it took was a visit from California’s Governator to get the Canadian government moving to squelch the plague of film piracy that in recent years has strained the patience of the U.S. studios.

Wow it’s a real privilege to see Variety begin writing like FOX News. Luckily they can do it when they find something really crucial to the survival of the world, like movie piracy.

“Canada’s new government will take action to put a stop to the problem of film piracy and will bring forward amendments to Canada’s Criminal Code,” Heritage Minister Bev Oda said. “Piracy has a devastating impact on the entire film industry, and our government intends to ensure respect for the intellectual property rights of cinematic works.”

Translation Hollywood threatened that if Canada didn’t pass laws mandating the creation of a frozen gulag to ship anyone who rips a backup copy of a DVD movie using DVD X-Copy, Hollywood would switch its Vancouver filming for cheapo syndicated TV shows and CW crap like Smallville to someplace in Indonesia.

Bizzers have for years been lobbying the government to overhaul the Copyright Act or at least amend it to make camming a crime, with no success to date. Putting Canada on a U.S. government watch list three years ago didn’t work.

Darn. And we were sure those Canucks would be terrified of being put on our WATCH LIST, which apparently means we’d be watching them. Something the Canadian entertainment industry knows quite well we don’t do.

A public letter of indictment from Fox’s Bruce Snyder to Canadian exhibitors in February didn’t work. Ditto letters in March from Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) directly to the prime minister.

And you’d have thought that the MPAA’s paid Senator Feinstein (also a war profiteer) could genuinely terrify Canadians by signing on to that latter the MPAA wrote for her.

Then last month, amid claims that more than 70% of its pirated titles in the past 18 months come from Canada, Warner Bros. pulled all promotional and word of mouth screenings in Canada. Still nothing.

Horrifying those Canadians. Even being denied the chance to see the Warner Brothers line up of quality movies in word of mouth screenings like “Untitled Adam Sandler Project” and “Untitled Julia Roberts Project” didn’t dent that classic Canadian resolve.

Of course who was Warner Brothers hurting here? The screenings are free and they’re meant to promote a movie. No screening. No promotion.

But the mere presence this week of the Governator in person, here primarily to shill California business, has finally brought forth the pledges.

But I think all Californians can be happy to have a Governor… sorry Governator who represents the interests of 0.03 percent of his constituents.

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