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New MPAA President Dodges Political Daggers, Not Produce

As secretary of agriculture under President Clinton, Dan Glickman said that he was the most assaulted member of the Cabinet. Protestors have thrown everything from tofu cream pie to genetically modified soybeans at him. Since Sept. 1, he's been dodging a new type of attack, political daggers.

Glickman replaced 38-year MPAA veteran, president Jack Valenti after a two-year stint at the Institute of Politics located at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School where he served as director.

In his new presidential role, Glickman announced this week that lawsuits are being filed to punish those uploading movies to the Internet. He says he wants to work with technology experts to create a legal alternative to illegal uploading and download of digital movies because, "technology is here and there is no way to stop it."

These preemptive strikes, Glickman hopes, will protect copyrighted material. "I'd rather bring people in to the movies than serve them a subpoena," he said.

However, he was vague about how existing technologies such as TiVo--with 1.9 million subscribers--and other DVRs will play into the argument of digital recording.

Glickman attributes the $3.5 billion that he said the movie industry loses to movie piracy. Spyglass Entertainment--whose president is Glickman's son Jonathan, produced the baseball movie "Mr. 3000"--was barely in the theaters before it was being sold in DVDs on the streets of Washington, D.C.

In its first weekend, "Mr. 3000" made $8.7 million--compared to the recent family-friendly film, "The Incredibles" that debuted with $70 million in its first weekend--indicating that people are still paying to see some movies in theaters.

Regarding censorship, Glickman said he does not want to dictate how much indecency and TV violence people see, referring to the ratings systems that are currently in place.

"Ratings must be voluntary, not legislative," he said.

Additionally, Glickman does not see the need for a universal ratings system for movies, TV and video games, as once proposed by Disney President Robert Iger.

As a tribute to Veteran's Day, ABC planned to show "Saving Private Ryan" although several ABC affiliates, including WOI-TV in Des Moines preempted the movie, fearing that the FCC would take action against the excessive violence and occasional profanity in the film, although this would have been the third year the station broadcast the film.

Glickman said that "Saving Private Ryan" should be shown in its entirety on broadcast TV.