Source: 'Significant' layoffs at MPAA

MPAA reps declined to give numbers but a film studio source said that the cutbacks are over 10 percent and more are on the way.

LOS ANGELES--Many of the major film studios have gone through a painful round of layoffs and now the industry's trade group is cutting staff, too.

The Motion Picture Association of America, much maligned by file sharers everywhere, has gone through a "significant" round of layoffs, according to a studio source. The source said the layoffs were well over 10 percent and more reductions are expected.

A spokeswoman for the MPAA confirmed the layoffs to CNET News, but declined to provide numbers or percentages. The group battles copyright infringement on behalf of the six largest film studios. How the cutbacks will affect the group's antipiracy efforts is unclear.

The ailing economy is hurting Hollywood and staff cutbacks have occurred at Paramount, Warner Bros., and Disney, as well as others.

The MPAA's leadership is mostly unaffected, said the MPAA spokeswoman. Prior to the layoffs, Dean Garfield, one of the more high profile MPAA attorneys, left the trade group in December to become CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council, a technology-focused trade group.

Some of the members of that tech trade group include HP, Adobe, Dell, IBM, and Cisco.

In 2006, Garfield was accused in a lawsuit filed by TorrentSpy, the now defunct BitTorrent search engine, of hiring a hacker to illegally break into the company's servers to extract confidential information. The MPAA denied the allegations and the lawsuit was later dismissed.

Elsewhere at the MPAA, the group is expected to meet RealNetworks in court again on the RealDVD case on April 1. The MPAA alleges in a lawsuit that the RealDVD software, a technology that enables users to copy films and store them on their hard drives, violates copyright law.

 

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