The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has announced a personnel and symbolic change while it continues advancing its agenda on Capitol Hill and preparing for a major court ruling.
The MPAA’s CEO, Dan Glickman, named John Feehery executive vice president for external affairs. Feehery, the former spokesman for Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), joined the MPAA earlier this year as its communications counselor. Now, he will oversee the MPAA’s lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill as well as its media strategy.
|A letter from Dan Glickman will announce MPAA support of CAFTA.|
Feehery replaced Stacy Carlson, who abruptly quit last week as MPAA’s top lobbyist after less than a year on the job. Carlson had been an aide to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.).
Glickman said in a statement, “Stacy has been of tremendous assistance during these first months of my tenure, helping to ensure a smooth transition.”
The MPAA, which represents the major Hollywood movie studios, will honor Jack Valenti, whose 38-year reign as president and CEO of the MPAA ended last year, by renaming its downtown office building after him today. After the event, Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) will host a lunch for studio executives in the Longworth House Office Building.
Amid the personnel changes, the MPAA continues to press its agenda in Congress. Glickman will send a letter to lawmakers tomorrow expressing the association’s support of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Studio executives support the bill because of its strong intellectual-property protections, Feehery said.
Finally, the MPAA is preparing for a Supreme Court ruling in MGM v. Grokster, which could come either tomorrow or Monday, the two days remaining on the court’s calendar.
The court is deciding whether the so-called “Sony-Betamax standard” — which holds that even if some people misused videocassette recorders the technology serves a legitimate purpose — applies to online file-sharing services. The case has united Hollywood and the Christian Coalition, unlikely allies, and pitted them against major technology companies and some public-interest groups.
If the movie and recording industries lose, they will have to seek a legislative remedy in Congress to fight online piracy of movies. But passing a legislative fix, which the industries failed to do last summer, would present a major test for Glickman and the Recording Industry Association of America’s CEO, Mitch Bainwol.