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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 May, 2004, 20:33 GMT 21:33 UK
Film chiefs meet to tackle piracy
Jack Valenti
Piracy should be fought with tough penalties, says Jack Valenti
Leaders of the movie industry in Cannes have appealed to directors and actors to sign up to their anti-piracy message before piracy wrecks the film business.

Executives from Hollywood, France, India, China, and Russia held an "unprecedented" meeting on Sunday.

They said directors should be involved in the campaign because "they are the major victims" of piracy.

Director Quentin Tarantino has said he approves of piracy in countries where his films are not released in cinemas.

The meeting involved criticism of "members of the showbusiness community who profess to be pirates and seem proud of it", according to delegate Peter Bart, editor-in-chief of US film magazine Variety.

Experiments

Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) told BBC News Online action needed to be taken.

"I don't think there's a single actor or director in the world who does not believe that, if you don't combat piracy, it will devour you in the future," he said.

Experiments were being carried out to allow DVD-quality movies to be downloaded from the internet in five seconds, Mr Valenti said.

The process currently takes between one and 12 hours.

Mr Valenti said: "Suppose you can bring down a movie in five minutes, piracy will explode like a pandemic. Every creative community in the world understands that."

Selection of discs
Films could one day be downloaded in seconds

He said Tarantino did not want his films to be "stolen" in countries where they were shown in cinemas.

"If you can't retrieve your investment, you're out of the movie business," Mr Valenti said.

He did not rule out suing "pirates", but had "no plans" to do so at the moment.

Mr Valenti said copyright laws were needed that were "stern, with penalties that are severe and certain".

French President Jacques Chirac sent a message to the meeting, describing piracy as "a scourge we need to combat with determination."




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