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Film pirates have formidable new MPAA foe

MPAA has reportedly reached an agreement with former Senator and Vietnam War hero Bob Kerrey. He could give film studios more punch in Washington.

Look out film pirates; you're now up against a Navy SEAL.

According to a report in The Hollywood Reporter, former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey has agreed to lead the Motion Picture Association of America once a few details are ironed out. The trade publication reported that the main issue left to decide is exactly when Kerrey will start. Kerrey is president of the New School, a university in New York where he is still under contract.

Kerry, who represented Nebraska in the U.S. Senate and ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992, will succeed Dan Glickman as MPAA chairman and CEO. A veteran of the Vietnam War, Kerrey is a former Navy SEAL and a recipient of the Medal of Honor.

He has a reputation for being tough. Kerrey won the nation's highest military decoration for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" after leading his SEAL team on a mission against Vietcong forces in 1969. The group scaled a 350-foot high cliff to mount an attack and during the fighting Kerry lost part of his leg when he was hit by grenade fragments.

This guy could bring a whole new spirit to the antipiracy fight. As a lobbyist, Kerrey possesses the kind of contacts, charisma and notoriety that the MPAA has lacked since former MPAA boss, the late Jack Valenti, retired in 2004.

After spending 12 years in the Senate, Kerrey is said to be respected within both major political parties.

This is exactly what the MPAA wants. Kerrey is taking the MPAA job at a time of declining DVD sales and rising online piracy. The MPAA and its music counterpart, the Recording Industry Association of America, appear determined to battle illegal file sharing by enlisting the help of Internet service providers.

The plan is to get ISPs to issue a series of warnings to customers accused of pirating film or music and follow that up with some kind of service interruption. To this point, the major ISPs have proven reluctant to cut off service.

The issue could conceivably end up being decided on Capitol Hill, where Kerry could prove useful.