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Harvey Weinstein wants US to adopt French piracy laws

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Hollywood power player Harvey Weinstein has urged Big Content to take a “hang ‘em first and talk about it later” stance when it comes to piracy.

Keynoting at the BFI London Film Festival, he railed against the online industries approach to piracy, and slammed Apple and Google for “getting paid, not the actors.”

"I think we are being done a massive disservice by these companies," he said.

He called for a Hollywood backed push to shift the power back to the content makers ad carriers.

“I think after the [US Presidential] election we need to rally filmmakers, content providers and musicians around the world as long as these companies [continue to make content available] under the guise of free Internet.”

Weinstein said that everyone behind movie production from the unionized labor to filmmakers and producers are not seeing anything from internet companies broadcasting their content, while under the TV model they would get a share of any broadcast fee when the content aired.

“I love it when these Internet dudes say to me, hey man; we just want to be 'content neutral.' Next time, I'll say sure, I'll get my tie dye shirt and come and sit in your billion dollar mansion in San Francisco or Silicon Valley for a while, soak it up," he quipped.

France’s harsh three strikes law, introduced during former president Nicolas Sarkozy's regime, was positioned as the panacea for the US film industry.

"If an Internet company steals content, they shut it down. And let me tell you, Apple France, Yahoo France or Google France, none of them have gone out of business," he said.

Whether you liked Sarkozy or not, Weinstein said. “this law was good, because people are disincentified to steal."

He said the system had a flow on effect to the health of the industry as in France, where 260 local films were made last year and found funding for even difficult projects such as the €14m black-and-white silent film The Artist.

Earlier in the week, Weinstein delivered a keynote at the MIPCOM conference in Cannes claiming that the rapidly shrinking movie business, shaken by piracy and consolidation, had pushed The Weinstein Company to “accelerate” its television operations.

“You can do exciting things in television. There’s an audience for it and there’s an appetite for it. The movie business is shrinking to some degree and I think we have to look for new horizons. It’s exciting to do new things.” ®

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