The MPAA spends a lot of time and money producing anti-piracy ads that emphasize over and over again that making copies of films is evil and wrong and always illegal, then they turned around and made copies of the documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated that had been submitted for a rating without the permission of the film’s creator, Kirby Dick.
The filmmaker said that when he asked MPAA lawyer Greg Goeckner what right his organization had to make the copy, Goeckner told him that Dick and his crew had potentially invaded the privacy of the MPAA’s movie raters.
“We made a copy of Kirby’s movie because it had implications for our employees,” said Kori Bernards, the MPAA’s vice president for corporate communications. She said Dick spied on the members of the MPAA’s Classification and Rating Administration, including going through their garbage and following them as they drove their children to school.
“We were concerned about the raters and their families,” Bernards said. She said the MPAA’s copy of “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” is “locked away,” and is not being copied or distributed.
The standard the MPAA is using for itself appears to be at odds with what the organization sets out for others: “Manufacturing, selling, distributing or making copies of motion pictures without the consent of the copyright owners is illegal,” the MPAA’s website says. “Movie pirates are thieves, plain and simple…. ALL forms of piracy are illegal and carry serious legal consequences.”
The MPAA argues that it is within the law because “the courts recognize that parties are entitled to make a copy of a work for use as evidence in possible future proceedings,” but isn’t saying if they actually plan to file suit against Kirby. They could very well be right, but it puts the lie to the implication in their ads that copying movies is always illegal. Another case of do as we say and not as we do.