Chris Dodd Cashing In With The Movies

There was pretty overwhelming sentiment that Chris Dodd would find his post-Senatorial career as some kind of lobbyist for the insurance or finance industries, so I’m pretty surprised to learn that he’ll be heading up the Motion Picture Association of America instead. Apparently “the job will require Mr. Dodd to push a Hollywood agenda in Washington that includes a more aggressive governmental stance against piracy and prodding China to lift limits on the distribution of Western movies.”

China should, in fact, lift limits on the distribution of Western movies and the US government ought to press them to do it.

As for “piracy,” I think the recent murder of Americans by actual Somali pirates should drive home how absurd it is to analogize unauthorized copying of a non-rival good to violent kidnapping and robbery. Nobody dies when you download a copy of Little Fockers. So it’s always worth asking what pressing social problem stepped up anti-infringement measures are intended to solve. Is America a country with an unusually low violent crime rate, such that it makes sense to divert more law enforcement resources away from such matters? Do Americans have too much disposable income, so we’re looking to raise the cost of entertainment? It’s actually quite true that real wages for movie stars have been declining in recent years, so maybe this is the issue Dodd wants to address.