Dodd to be Hollywood's top man in Washington

Former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) has been named chairman and chief executive of the Motion Picture Association of America.

Dodd will start his new job on St. Patrick's Day — March 17.

The Connecticut Democrat, who retired from the Senate in January after three decades, succeeds former Chairman Dan Glickman, who left last year. Bob Pisano has served as interim chief of the film industry's top lobbying group since.


“Senator Dodd is a battle-tested leader whose reputation as a strong leader on major issues facing this country has prepared him to serve as the ambassador for the movie business. I, along with my colleagues, agree that he was worth the wait,” said Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairman Jim Gianopulos. 

Dodd's hiring, which has been rumored for weeks, ends months of media speculation regarding who would take over one of the most glamorous jobs on K Street. But the $1.2 million-a-year-salary also comes with the tough task of getting the fiercely competitive member studios to coordinate their policy goals.

"I am truly excited about representing the interests of one of the most creative and productive industries in America, not only in Washington but around the world,” Dodd said.

“The major motion picture studios consistently produce and distribute the most sought after and enjoyable entertainment on earth. Protecting this great American export will be my highest priority.”

Dodd mentioned protecting the interests of children and families, increasing intellectual property protections and expanding the industry's reach abroad as areas of focus. He said it was an honor to follow in the footsteps of Glickman and iconic MPAA chief Jack Valenti, whose 38-year reign ended in 2004.

Pisano told Hillicon last month that combating online piracy is the movie industry's top priority, arguing pirated films erode the industry's revenue streams and jeopardize the jobs of the 2.5 million Americans its employs.

The MPAA is one of the strongest backers of Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy's (D-Vt.) Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act, which the committee is planning to take up after an expected vote by the full Senate on patent reform this week. Leahy has predicted a version of the bill will pass Congress this year.

The nascent online video marketplace is another area expected to become a focus for the MPAA under Dodd. The Federal Communications Commission attached a number of measures to the NBC Universal-Comcast merger intended to protect competition in that arena.

The MPAA will likely play a large role in hammering out the rules of the road for Web content distributors seeking to stream films online, particularly with regards to first-run movies and recent releases.

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