(continued from previous page)
Some have called you the MPAA's enforcer. What's your background, and how did you get to the MPAA?
Garfield: I got here from law school. I'm a lawyer by training. I was working for the recording industry for five years, and I think the impetus to work here was that I could help the motion picture industry avoid some of the pitfalls that the recording industry encountered.
That's one of the things I like about working here. People here really do want to learn. Our industry is filled with folks that are very interested in learning and listening to consumers.
What's the biggest misconception about the MPAA?
Garfield: That we are a bunch of Luddites that do not understand technology and are not interested in giving consumers what they want, or that we're only interested in saying "no."
They think that we're interested only in keeping people from getting motion picture content. The truth is that we're in the business of making motion pictures, and marketing and distributing motion pictures. We want people to have it worldwide. But we want them to have it legitimately.
The Pirate Party in Sweden has plans to spread the anticopyright movement all over the world. Does it worry you that that some people see the issue of copyright as an attempt by Hollywood to suppress information and are painting piracy as a crusade?
Garfield: It is a concern. Part of our challenge is to view the Pirate Party, and those who support it, as a market competitor. We have to make sure that we, as an industry, are as attuned to the marketplace as they are. We have to be steadfast to respond to market wishes. We also shouldn't close our eyes to it, and we will be responsive to it.
Do you think that the Pirate Party's attempts to battle you guys at the ballot box is a legitimate way to work out these issues?
Garfield: There's nothing about what the Pirate Bay does or what the Pirate Party does that is legitimate. There's nothing philosophically principled about it. They steal copyright content and accept advertising dollars based on taking other people's work. There's nothing noble about it.
What's your technology background?
Garfield: Initially, working at a law firm, I had an interest in working with technology. What was important was that I got into this area very early, in 1998 or 1999, when a lot of these things were developing.
I knew that to understand what the best legal arguments were, I needed a deep understanding of the technology, and so I always tried to surround myself with people who understood it very well. So I'm not a technologist by training, by any stretch of the imagination, but I ask a lot of questions and sought out people who understand it.
Have you seen, among the file-sharing applications, any that could one day be a friend to Hollywood?
Garfield: It's not our role to endorse any particular technology, but I've seen a ton of stuff that could bring us great value. Already, BitTorrent has real value, because it's a really efficient way of transferring large files over the Internet. This is a big problem.
For us, BitTorrent holds real promise because our stuff is really large. It's hard to predict now where this will be 5 or 10 years down the road, but the potential is promising.
When you think that the motion picture industry, on a worldwide basis, is unique in that we are the dominant audiovisual art form in almost every country around the world--and delivering our content around the world requires real know-how--there is a real infrastructure around getting a movie that is premiering in the United States to countries around the world.
And technologies will help us do this more efficiently. For example, the rollout of digital cinema--that will help us go to places that don't necessarily have the infrastructure to get our content right now.
What about BitTorrent tracker sites, like TorrentSpy and Isohunt? A judge has ruled that TorrentSpy has to turn over information from its RAM over to the MPAA. Are you going to continue to go after these sites?
Garfield: Yes. I think our strategy has always been multifaceted. It will include litigation, but it will also include technology development (of security applications), and partnering with third parties, and creating real, legitimate alternatives to piracy. And all the studios are working very hard at this individually.
Just a year and a half ago, they invested a significant amount of money in creating MovieLabs to help them with the technological development. We will continue the legal efforts here, but it will always be supported by the efforts to give consumers a legitimate and attractive way to download movies.
14 commentsJoin the conversation! Add your comment