MPAA chief speculation, more fun than a Saturday night movie

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MPAA chief speculation, more fun than a Saturday night movie

Tue Oct 20, 2009 @ 10:04AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Story One of the hottest guessing games in Hollywood at the moment is who the MPAA will tap as its new chief.

THR brings word that former Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr. has emerged as the early front-runner for the position.

Ford certainly brings political connections to the table (back when he was running for Senate in Tennessee, we remember him making the rounds at Hollywood fundraisers). He would be a smart, telegenic presence supporting MPAA causes. However, if there's a knock on him, it may be that he lacks significant experience on intellectual property matters, and more damning, tends to be a social conservative.

At 39, his political career may be far from over. If the ambitious Ford ever wants to run again for senator in Tennessee, he'll benefit from continuing to speak out about how "our faith and our morals influence somewhat how we treat people and how we shape laws and how we implement policy."

Nothing wrong with having an upright backbone, of course, but does Ford share Hollywood's values?

There's another school of thought that the MPAA will look to hire an aggressive antipiracy figure. According to CNET, the MPAA recently fired three leaders of its antipiracy division, including MPAA general counsel Greg Goeckner. The org hasn't commented about what happened, but CNET's Greg Sandoval says the moves were a "black eye" for outgoing MPAA chief Dan Glickman.

Tony-blair-2-sized If the MPAA wants someone to fight for their cause de rigueur, they could go with Rep. Howard Berman or elevate someone from within the MPAA ranks or from the studios; however, these choices could be seen as unimaginative. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would be the sexiest pick, but his current position may have tainted him politically.

Just for fun, let's throw out a name who we have absolutely no reason to believe is currently being considered but might make a lot of sense — former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Yes, he's not American. But as content distribution and protection becomes ever more global, that might be an attractive way to signal a new MPAA 2.0. Plus, he's got political and media connections, gravitas, and the kind of charisma the entertainment industry tends to appreciate. Would Tony Blair go Hollywood? 

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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