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Quick Shot: Kids Today

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ANALYSIS
   Dan Glickman, who has fewer than two weeks left as CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (get that farewell card in the mail, Kirby Dick!), gave an exit interview to the Associated Press that popped up on the wire today. The man who would be Jack Valenti used the opportunity to take some parting shots at his favorite targets: children and technology. “The Internet is ubiquitous,” Glickman said. “Kids can access it. It’s all available in their homes, and they feel it’s theirs. Our job has been to try to educate people that in fact it’s not theirs, unless there’s some form or system for paying for it.” He then gave some lip service to the industry’s responsibility to make content affordable and accessible, but if you close your eyes you can see him in your head, sneering like Dick Cheney as he concedes that—heavens to Betsy!—the Internet is in people’s homes.

It’s weird how much the performers’ unions and the industry overlap on piracy. Labor leaders can go on about what a bunch of redonkulous crapbags the folks on the other side of the table are, but whenever piracy comes up, it’s suddenly time for everyone to hold hands and sing “We Shall Overcome.” At a meeting earlier this month, the AFL-CIO executive council issued a joint statement titled “Piracy is a Danger to Entertainment Professionals.” In an attached statement, American Federation of Radio and Television Artists president Roberta Reardon asserted her union’s commitment to a free and open Internet—a significant place where labor and the industry diverge—but then added, “Its important to remember that downloading illegal content is the same as walking into a record or book store and stealing a CD or DVD.”

Union leaders need to not echo people like Glickman when talking about piracy. Even the word “piracy” itself conjures a criminal image and would probably be unacceptable if it didn’t also conjure images of Johnny Depp and Roberto Clemente. People who can’t afford the $15 it costs to be disappointed by the new Cameron Diaz movie aren’t going to listen to your reasonable appeals regarding the value of your members’ work if you insist on calling them thieves.

Pictured: MPAA chair Dan Glickman (Photo: Getty Images)

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