WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today unanimously approved legislation to provide the Justice Department with new tools to crack down on the theft and distribution of illegal digital movies, television shows and other counterfeit material by rogue websites on the Internet. The following is a statement by Bob Pisano, President and Interim CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA):

"These rogue sites exist for one purpose only: to make a profit using the Internet to distribute the stolen and counterfeited goods and ideas of others. The economic impact of these activities-millions of lost jobs and dollars-is profound. That's why dozens of labor organizations and businesses groups have come together to support the bill approved today by the Judiciary Committee.

As part of a wide ranging coalition of workers and businesses whose jobs and financial health have been placed at risk by content theft, we commend Senators Patrick Leahy and Orrin Hatch for their leadership on this bill. We look forward to working with them and the other cosponsors of the legislation, along with their colleagues in the House to help the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act become law.

The film and television industry alone is responsible for more than 2.4 million hard working, middle-class jobs in all 50 states. For these workers and their families, digital theft means declining incomes, lost jobs and reduced health and retirement benefits. Unfortunately, this means nothing to the operators of rogue websites who seek to benefit illegally from the hard work of others.

The operators of these sites use a variety of means to facilitate their goals - advertising, rentals, sales and charges for premium services. They are commonly assisted-sometimes unwittingly-- by American companies whose ads are placed on the sites by brokers. They are also often aided by enterprises that provide the financial services for their schemes.

As Sen. Leahy has noted, these are the ‘worst of the worst' online websites. The operators of these sites knowingly break the law, harm the American economy, deprive American intellectual property owners of their rights, cost American jobs and, in the case of counterfeit prescription drugs, potentially threaten the health and welfare of American consumers.

It will take a strong, sustained effort to stop Internet thieves and profiteers. We believe that Congress and the Administration can make a significant contribution to that effort by turning the Leahy-Hatch bill into law and giving law enforcement significantly enhanced tools for addressing a threat that deprives American innovators of the fruits of their labors and menaces our nation's economic health."

Background:

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act will provide the Department of Justice with tools to track and shut down websites devoted to providing access to unauthorized downloads, streaming, or sale of copyrighted content and counterfeit goods. It will:

• Give the Department of Justice an expedited process for cracking down on websites that are dedicated to making infringing goods and services available;
• Authorize the Department of Justice to file an in rem civil action against a domain name, and seek a preliminary order from the court that the domain name is being used to traffic infringing material. The Department must publish notice of the action promptly after filing, and it would have to meet clear criteria that focus on the sites' substantial and repeated role in online piracy or counterfeiting;
• Provide safeguards allowing the domain name owner or site operator to petition the court to lift the order;
• Provide safeguards against abuse by allowing only the Justice Department to initiate an action, and by giving a federal court the final say about whether a particular site would be cut off from supportive services.

 

Read more

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC), a leading motion picture exhibitor owning and operating the largest theatre circuit in the United States, announces the addition of a Fruit, Nut & Snack Pack to the list of snack options available at movie theatres in California, Florida, New York and the Pacific Northwest.

The Fruit, Nut & Snack Pack comes in a convenient carton with individual bags for almonds, pretzels and raisins. Each bag is sealed for freshness. Adding nuts and raisins to Regal's food selection is an example of the company's responsiveness to customer suggestions. Through focus groups and patron comments this combination of almonds, pretzels and raisins was identified as a snack food choice preferred by many moviegoers.

"Regal Entertainment Group is pleased to introduce this new snack option at many of our theatres across the country," stated Dick Westerling, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Advertising for Regal Entertainment Group. "The ingredients in this snack pack were selected based on research and guest comments. Regal is pleased to add this item to complement our other popular movie snacks that are available."

 

Read more

LOS ANGELES, CA -- In response to the ratings given to two of its upcoming films, The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that it has engaged a formidable legal team to challenge the NC-17 rating for BLUE VALENTINE and the R rating for THE KING'S SPEECH given by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), according to TWC Co-Chair Harvey Weinstein.

"While we respect the MPAA, I think we can all agree that we are living with an outdated ratings system that gives torture porn, horror and ultraviolent films the same rating as films with so-called inappropriate language," explains Weinstein.

In mounting the challenge, TWC has assembled a team of top attorneys including David Boies, who serves as legal advisor on both films, Bert Fields, who is overseeing the appeal for THE KING'S SPEECH, and Alan R. Friedman, the lead attorney for BLUE VALENTINE.

THE KING'S SPEECH drew an R rating due to its multiple occurrences of strong language, even though it is used in a non-aggressive, non-sexual, therapeutic way. Director Tom Hooper states, "I hope that language can be judged by its context just as violence is currently judged in context. The f-word in ‘The King's Speech' is not being used in its sexual sense, or in its aggressive sense, but as a release mechanism to help a man overcome a stammer in the context of speech therapy, in a scene that is also very funny. This was a technique that David Seidler, the writer, encountered as a boy in the 1940s - discovering he didn't stammer on curse words was hugely helpful to him overcoming his speech problems. Fortunately in the UK we have been granted a 12A, and the on screen certificate will explain that there is some bad language "used in the context of speech therapy". I hope that in the light of this context the R rating for the movie can be reconsidered."

Prompted by the decision from the British Board of Film Classification to lower the rating of THE KING'S SPEECH to 12A, the equivalent of our PG-13, and to use the specific warning: "Contains strong language in a speech therapist context," as well as the outcry from parents, teens and educators who have already seen the film, TWC has requested what is referred to as a Special Hearing with the MPAA. The Special Hearing is necessary because the film is now within 25 business days of its theatrical release. "We were so encouraged by the British Film Board's decision to lower the rating in England that it motivated us to fully support the Special Hearing that TWC has requested. We feel that school kids in America would otherwise miss out on the opportunity to see this film which at its core is a film about overcoming adversity, based on moral themes of friendship and self belief," comments Iain Canning.

Not only has the film received support from filmgoers, but also from a chorus of key journalists, including Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times, Dave Karger of Entertainment Weekly, and countless other editors and writers. The other motivation for proceeding with the 11th-hour appeal is in response to audiences who believe the current powder-keg issue of childhood bullying, and its effects long into adulthood, subtlety illustrated in the film, should reach pre-teen and teenage viewers.

Attorney Fields adds, "This rating for THE KING'S SPEECH is arbitrary and irrational. In my view, it violates The Weinstein Company's right to freedom of speech under the state and US constitution. It should strike fear in the heart of every director and producer."

BLUE VALENTINE, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, in a film already acclaimed by critics, tells the honest and personal story of a troubled marriage, and yet apparently drew an NC-17 due to one scene, a sexually intimate sequence between a married couple trying to repair their broken relationship.

Gosling comments, "You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It's misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman's sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film."

"The MPAA's decision on Blue Valentine unmasks a taboo in our culture, that an honest portrayal of a relationship is more threatening than a sensationalized one," says Williams. "Mainstream films often depict sex and violence in a manner that is disturbing and very far from reality. Yet, the MPAA regularly awards these films with a more audience friendly rating, enabling our culture's desensitization to violence, rape, torture and brutality. Our film does not depict any of these attributes. It's simply a candid look at the difficulties couples face in sustaining their relationships over time. Blue Valentine opens a door for couples to have a dialogue about the everyday realities of many relationships. This film was made in the spirit of love, honesty and intimacy. I hope that the MPAA will hear our pleas and reconsider their decision."

In order to appeal, TWC is forced to accept the NC-17 rating for now, the first step in the appeals process. Initially TWC sought to go outside of the ratings board, and release the film unrated, however in the last 10 days so much support of the film has been garnered that TWC has decided to move forward with an official MPAA appeal. "Over the past year I have witnessed audiences all over the world personally relating to the story and characters, so brilliantly and bravely performed by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams" states director, Derek Cianfrance. He adds, "The one positive to come out of this miss-directed decision, is the passionate outpouring of support from the industry, the media, and the fans of the film. I have yet to meet someone who has seen the film who agrees with this ultra-conservative decision."

"Stamping this film with the rarely used NC-17 is a travesty," says attorney Friedman. "That rating is out of sync with R ratings awarded to films for sexual conduct, where the scenes in question are far less sensitively handled. The scene, consistent with the entire film, like all of BLUE VALENTINE, was shot with great care and tact. In fact, the NC-17 suggests a coarseness of content that is nowhere to be seen. I look forward to providing the appeal board with the chance to correct this mistake by lowering the rating to an R."

As both films are slated for an end of the year release and are considered by many to be leading awards contenders, TWC hopes to come to a resolution on an expedited timetable.

THE KING'S SPEECH, starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter is directed by Tom Hooper, written by David Seidler and produced by Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, will have an exclusive Thanksgiving release.

BLUE VALENTINE, directed by Derek Cianfrance, produced by Jamie Patricof, Lynette Howell and Alex Orlovsky, will be released on December 31 and expands nationwide January 2011.

 

Read more

TORONTO, ON -- Cineplex Entertainment today announced movies can now be digitally downloaded into your home with Download To Own (DTO) and Video on Demand (VoD) service from the Cineplex Store at Cineplex.com. New releases will be available for digital download on the same day they are released on DVD and Blu-ray. This new service complements the DVD and Blu-ray products already available for purchase at the Cineplex Store. Customers will now have the option to easily and seamlessly select whichever option best suits their movie-watching needs. Effective today, digital downloads purchased from Cineplex.com can be played on your PC or other compatible devices.

"When Canadians think of movies, we want them to think of Cineplex," said Ellis Jacob, President and CEO, Cineplex Entertainment. "The best way to experience a movie is still in-theatre but when guests want to enjoy the movie again, they can now choose from a variety of formats available from Cineplex.com including digital downloads via our Download To Own or Video on Demand service, or on DVD or Blu-ray."

To celebrate the launch of the download service, Cineplex Entertainment is offering a buy one get one free promotion until December 31, 2010 where customers who purchase any regularly-priced DTO movie will receive a second movie of equal or lesser value free. Some restrictions apply so visit Cineplex.com for full promotional details.

Today the Cineplex Store at Cineplex.com features thousands of titles available for DTO or VoD from major motion picture studios such as Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Hundreds of titles will be added daily over the next several weeks as we continue to populate our digital library. New releases being added this month include Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, Sex and the City 2 and Eat, Pray, Love, and coming in December are Inception, Despicable Me and Salt to name a few.

DTO and VoD purchases made from the Cineplex Store can be stored either on a customer's hard drive or in a digital locker contained within the Cineplex Player that customers will download when they make their first digital download purchase. The locker enables purchasers to store their movie safely and securely without depleting space on their device's hard drive while still allowing unlimited future downloads of DTO titles. The Cineplex Player and digital locker technology are powered by RoxioNowTM.

Members of our SCENE entertainment rewards program will continue to earn points on all DVD and Blu-ray purchases made through Cineplex.com and will now earn points on digital downloads (DTO and VoD) as well. SCENE members can also redeem their SCENE points to purchase DTO titles, movie tickets, Cineplex gift cards, DVD, and Blu-ray movies. "This is another example of the tremendous added-value that only SCENE members enjoy," said Jacob. "Cineplex rewards SCENE members for purchasing a movie - whether it is in our theatres or online via our Cineplex Store."

Today's launch is the first of a multiphase rollout, with several key features planned for a 2011 update. Cineplex.com will feature streaming High Definition content for DTO and VoD titles and, once available, the ability to store content in a cloud-based UltraVioletTM account. UltraVioletTM is a digital rights locker and account management system that will allow consumers to watch their digital entertainment across multiple platforms, such as connected TVs, PCs, game consoles, smartphones and tablet PCs, in an easy, consistent way.

UltraViolet is a newly created consumer brand whose goal is to become the symbol for digital entertainment - one that gives consumers the freedom of access wherever they are, and the broadest choice of content, stores and devices. It was created by the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem LLC (DECE), which is a cross-industry consortium dedicated to driving a new, open market for digital content distribution. Cineplex Entertainment is the only Canadian-based retailer and motion picture theatre exhibitor to be a member of this group of nearly 60 world-renowned consortium members.

"We are working to ensure Cineplex.com is the most complete online experience possible for Canadians who want the best entertainment options available," said Ellis Jacob. "By adding the digital download service to Cineplex.com, especially with the features planned for 2011, in addition to our existing entertainment content and online ticketing, we believe we are creating one of the most powerful online entertainment experiences available to Canadians."

 

Read more

LOS ANGELES -- Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced today that Joel McHale will serve as host for the 2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards. The 26th edition of the awards will be held at the beach in Santa Monica on Saturday, February 26 at 2:00 p.m. The ceremony will air exclusively on IFC in primetime on February 26 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

As previously announced, nominees will be revealed on November 30th by Eva Mendes and Jeremy Renner at The London West Hollywood Hotel.

"The Spirit Awards is not only a celebration of the year's filmmakers and their art, but it's also about bringing together our diverse filmmaking community in a fun and laid-back atmosphere," said Film Independent Executive Director Dawn Hudson. "We're so excited to have Joel on board as the host, and his quick wit, talent and charm makes him a perfect fit for our audiences," said Film Independent Executive Director Dawn Hudson.

"Joel's unique brand of comedy is perfectly in line with IFC's ‘slightly off' sensibility," said Jennifer Caserta, Executive Vice President & General Manager, IFC. "We're thrilled he's hosting this year's Awards. This is a real perk for viewers."

McHale is one of the busiest actors in the business right now, and is the star of NBC's Community. He recently completed a leading role in Robert Rodriguez's Spy Kids 4, opposite Jessica Alba, and will be seen this summer in two additional films - What's Your Number?, opposite Anna Faris and The Big Year with Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson. Previously, McHale starred opposite Matt Damon in Steven Soderbergh's comedic thriller The Informant.

In addition, McHale continues to satirize pop culture and current events each week in E!'s The Soup. His quick wit and sharp comedic timing have made The Soup a pop culture phenomenon. McHale also performs his stand-up act around the country to sold-out audiences.

Born in Rome and raised in Seattle, Washington, McHale was a history major at the University of Washington, where he was also a member of their championship football team. In addition, he received his Master's of Fine Arts from UW's Actor's Training Program. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons.

This year's ceremony is sponsored by Premier Sponsors IFC, ELLE, Netflix, Piaget, Acura, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Stella Artois, and Principal Sponsor AVEENO. WireImage is the Official Photographer of Film Independent, American Airlines is the Official Airline of Film Independent, and PR Newswire is the Official Breaking News Service of Film Independent.

Read more

Subscribe to Articles Feed