Chris Dodd's imaginary topsy-turvy history of Hollywood

Former senator Chis Dodd is now the CEO of the MPAA, and was the primary moving force behind SOPA.

He's a bit weird.

His latest act of performance art, or fabulism, or whatever, is to make up a completely bullshit story about the history of Hollywood, in which the Hollywood film industry sprang into being because of strong "IP protection." He's sorta right. The founders of studios like Universal and Fox and Famous Players came to Hollywood so that they could violate Thomas Edison's film patents in peace, far from New Jersey and Edison's patent enforcers.

But that's not what Dodd means. In his imaginary world, it was the (nonextistent) heavy law enforcement in the wild west that gave birth to the industry that gives him millions of dollars today.

Perhaps some quotes from A Fish Called Wanda are in order:

Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not "Every man for himself." And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.

To which we can add, "Hollywood was not founded on the principle of vigorous IP enforcement. That is a mistake, Chris. I looked it up."

Chris Dodd Rewrites Hollywood's History To Pretend That It Came About Because Of IP Laws


  1. Cory, there’s a typo in the first sentence in Chris’s name.

    Chris, you’re a liar and bully and you should be ashamed.

  2. I don’t see where Dodd actually says all this stuff after clicking through two articles. Where does he talk about strong enforcement? The passages quoted seem to be more comparing film to start ups.

    1.  that should read “Chris, what an obfuscating asshole.” Unless the T is silent.

  3. Calling Chris Dodd a bit weird is like calling the American Civil War the “late unpleasantness”.

  4. I don’t think this is quite what Hollywood means when they refer to themselves as “The Land Of Dreams”.

    1. The “Land Of Make Believe”, and from what we’ve seen, they’re experts at tweaking and distorting history to fit the narrative they see suitable to print.  As well as the way they see and refer to themselves.

      Then there’s the false sense of self importance, as when they always give the Oscar to the actor/actress playing the blind/deaf/paraplegic character, so brave and important, my eyes are getting all misty right now, here’s Al Pacino as a blind army VIP!

      We all view ourselves differently than others view us (especially others with a critical, skeptical eye).  People in centers of fame, money and power, as an average, have a wider abyss between the two reference points.

  5. …and like all thieves and thugs who made it, he now wants the law to protect what is “rightful his” and the taxpayer to pay for it.

  6. *bursts into tears*
    You want to know how I learned to pirate?! 

    This message recycled from some silly campaign for a drug free (cept prescribed ones) ‘merkia

  7. Bonus irony: the early US movie industry also made a lot of its early money by pirating European films; US piracy was a major factor in ruining Melies, for example, a fact oddly glossed over in Hugo. (And for that matter, had the copyright cops of the 1920s been as enthusiastic as they are today, we might not have Nosferatu…)

  8. I’m constantly blaming the music and movie industries for not learning from their own histories, but pretending that history never happened takes the cake.  It also explains why they’re unable to learn from it.

  9. “The founders of studios like Universal and Fox and Famous Players came to Hollywood so that they could violate Thomas Edison’s film patents in peace…”

    Is that true? I thought they came West for year-round sunshine.

  10. Chris Dodd may be twisting history to suit the message he’s paid to promote, but your capsule summary….

    The founders of studios like Universal and Fox and Famous Players came to Hollywood so that they could violate Thomas Edison’s film patents in peace, far from New Jersey and Edison’s patent enforcers.

    …is a laughable distortion – once again, history twisted to suit a (different) political agenda.

    The independents came to Hollywood to escape the ILLEGAL AND VIOLENT RESTRAINT-OF-TRADE TACTICS employed by the Motion Picture Patents Company and its privately-hired thugs.

    The MPPC used private ‘detectives’ – a common practice in that great age of Robber Barons – to confiscate equipment -often perfectly legal equipment – “for purposes of investigation”, returning it only after long delays, often in badly damaged condition. And their thugs assaulted and beat anyone who got in the way of their ‘investigations.”

    The last of the MPPC’s patents expired in 1913, the very same year the Jesse Lasky Feature Play Company rented a barn in Hollywood to found the first Hollywood-located studio. (Zukor’s Famous Players wasn’t until 1915.)

    After that, Edison relied on the recently-founded General Film Company to try to enforce a monopoly on film distribution. GFC used the same illegal and violent tactics that the MPPC had used.

    Tactics for which the company was prosecuted and eventually shut down by the US Government.

    The Justice Dept. began prosecution of GFC under the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1912 (the same year Carl Laemmle founded the Universal Film Manufacturing Company). GFC was eventually shut down, and all its assets sold at auction by 1918.

    You can look it up.

    1. Oh, and there’s also the little matter that a business heavily dependent on sunshine will probably be happier in Hollywood (or Edendale or the San Fernando Valley or Culver City) than in New Jersey or New York.

      I think that may have been a significant factor, too.

    2. So the same tactics they are employing now?
      Dajaz1, MegaUpload, a series of other domains and servers just taken down at their behest?

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