It’s a familiar message for the MPAA chairman. But it’s noteworthy because he delivered it today to the National Press Club in Washington DC, where the trade organization hopes to revive interest in copyright protection following the collapse last year of its effort to persuade Congress to pass tough rules to limit Internet piracy.  Using this year’s Oscar-nominated films as examples of “stories that help us make sense of the world — and ourselves,” Chris Dodd called for strong intellectual property and copyright laws to protect such content. “These collaborations generate more than just social and cultural dividends, but economic ones as well — here in the U.S. and abroad”, he said in prepared remarks.

Dodd noted how easy it is to view films and TV shows on digital platforms including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. That increases the need to protect the content from theft. “We must strike a balance between the desire for a free and open Internet and the protection of intellectual property”, he said. He added: “There should be no confusion. For the more than two million Americans whose jobs depend on the motion picture and television industry ‘free and open’ cannot be synonymous with ‘working for free.’”

Dodd noted that movies had their best year ever in worldwide box office in 2012, with international box office receipts bringing in $23.1 billion — up nearly a $1 billion compared to the previous year. He also reminded attendees that 99% of the movie production workforce is off screen: “Every work day, more than 2.1 million of our fellow citizens go to work at a job that either directly or indirectly that depends on movies and TV,” Dodd said. “These jobs involve producing, marketing, manufacturing, and distributing movies and TV shows and related movie and TV businesses—nearly 700,000 direct jobs in all’.

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In and out of public office, Chris Dodd is a big money special interest pimp.

 See Dodd’s prepared remarks here: