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April 27, 2007
Ding Dong The Lich Is Dead
Sorry if that was too obvious a headline, but I really couldn't resist.
Jack "Boston Strangler" Valenti, the man most visibly responsible for the MPAA's frenetic attempts to kill every new technology they couldn't control, has died. He'll be lauded for his devotion to the business end of movies, and remembered by some as the man who drove the Puritan movie-rating system.
But Copyfighters will probably remember him best for his dogged refusal to understand that new media could be made part of new business models. Famously, he testified before Congress that the new recording technology VCR would do to movies what the Boston Strangler did to women. Of course today we know that movies make more money from video (DVD) distribution than they do in theaters.
There are a number of obituaries appearing and, in the tradition of not speaking ill of the dead, most laud his accomplishments. I can't help hoping, though, that the passing of the old guard will open up the possibility of a newer and more cooperative relationship emerging.
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