Robert Swagger, CEO of the Trend Exchange, gave a press conference detailing his progress — or lack of it — in swaying DC politicians to remove movie futures exchanges from the financial reform legislation that is expected to be signed into law later this year. After gaining approval last week to launch from the Commodity Futures Trade Commission, Swagger said he would head to Washington to either remove the futures trading from the legislation, or else grandfather Trend Exchange because it had been approved by the appropriate regulatory body. He said at the time he feared it would be an uphill battle. It was worse than he’d envisioned. With a vote looming later this week, Swagger not only had trouble swaying opinion, he had trouble even getting access to staffers of representatives weighing the legislation. While all the signatory studios and showbiz guilds lined up against trading futures based on box office performance, Swagger blamed the MPAA–and specifically interim head Bob Pisano–for being unable to launch his new business. He claimed Pisano is hiding behind anti-trust provisions and wielding tremendous lobbying clout to crush a small entrepreneur. Swagger left open the option of a legal battle over what he termed damaging misrepresentations made by Pisano. Then, Swagger took some shots of his own, claiming that DC pols were afraid go to against Pisano’s “Chicken Little” agenda. “The market should decide if these are valuable products or not, not the interim head of the MPAA,” Swagger said.
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