MPAA shifts jobs, will back CAFTA

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.

File Photo
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 BluntRoy Dean BluntSenators introduce bill to overhaul sexual harassment policy Senate reaches deal on new sexual harassment policy Senators near deal on sexual harassment policy change MORE (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.