Cameron attacks Dotcom

John Key with Titanic producer Jon Landau (left) and James Cameron

UPDATE: On Twitter, Kim Dotcom has jabbed back at James Cameron, tweeting: "I have the utmost respect for @JimCameron. He's a genius & ahead of his time. I'm sad about his opinion on Mega. We complied with the law."

The German millionaire also tweeted, "@JimCameron thinks it’s appropriate for the NZ government to protect major foreign investments. Confirms what the law bending is all about."

READ ALSO: Dotcom: I won't sue NZ govt

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The New Zealand government might have to do more to keep Hollywood productions coming here, director James Cameron said on TVNZ's Q+A programme yesterday – and, bluntly, that "doing more" means chipping in more money.

Many countries offered a better deal than NZ's 15% cashback grant.

Asked if what he thought about the Megaupload case, Mr Cameron said that given the capital and jobs involved in the movie industry, Mr Dotcom could be seen on a par with someone who tried to destroy New Zealand's agricultural industry – and hence worthy of attention from the Crown.

"I think it’s not inappropriate for a government to protect major foreign investments." 

The director hosted a dinner where Prime Minister John Key meet with major studio heads.


Q + A – October 7, 2012

JAMES CAMERON (Hollywood Director) interviewed by TIM WATKIN
(Edited interview)

TIM:  How did the dinner with the studio heads go and what did they want?   

MR CAMERON: [John Key] basically circulated around to the different tables and had private discussions — Not private, but I wasn’t privy to every discussion. You know, there were discussions of possible increases in infrastructure, stage space, you know, the idea of possibly altering the rebate scheme to keep pace with the change in the dollar.

TIM: Does that just mean more money?

MR CAMERON: I suspect so, and I wasn’t party to a specific discussion on that. I know the issue was raised. It was even suggested by Sir Peter Jackson in a pre-taped message to the group.

TIM: So what was John Key’s pitch to them?

MR CAMERON: He said that New Zealand certainly doesn’t have the highest incentive scheme in the world, but it is very competitive. And he felt that with a lot of the other factors – such as the English language, kind of the work ethic and skill of the crew, the resources that are available within the country, the locations, you have a core competence in terms of visual effects, the artisanry of set construction and so on – that all of those things add up to a very attractive full package.

TIM: We’ve already changed laws to keep The Hobbit. Are we conceding too much to Hollywood?

MR CAMERON: What Peter has done, and those that have followed in his footsteps, especially in Wellington – such as ourselves with Avatar – what's been created there is a global industry that’s competing directly with what's happening in Los Angeles or London. And I think if some accommodations need to be made to foster that, I think the benefits to the New Zealand economy will far outweigh, you know, any potential deficit.

TIM: Kim Dotcom – what is Hollywood’s perspective on him and on illegal downloading?

MR CAMERON: I think to the extent that the guy is guilty of fostering illegal downloads of movie content, I’d be against that, obviously. I mean, the guy’s probably dirty. I don’t think he’s a saint. The music business was eviscerated by illegal downloads, and it’s never recovered.

Not that there aren’t still plenty of artists out there who can create music. But movies are different. Movies aren’t three guys in a garage with a couple of guitars.

Movies require, you know, hundreds if not thousands of people and hundreds of millions of dollars to create the calibre of imagery that we expect to see. If the movie business takes a hit in revenues that’s equivalent to what happened in the music industry, you’ll never see that again. I think it’s not inappropriate for a government to protect major foreign investments.

If you think of the film industry not as something frivolous but as a major industry, and I think the term is correct – it creates jobs, it brings capital and so on – then it would be like anything else. It would be like someone who was potentially undermining let’s say the agricultural industry, which is obviously near and dear to the heart of the New Zealand economy.

Watch the full interview here.

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30 Comments & Questions

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Mr Dotcom could probably build a bigger industry in NZ than Mr Cameron and his buggy whip friends. Better to have the new growing industry than the old declining one.

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Hate to point out the blindingly obvious, but Dotcom's industry is entirely based on stealing from the gains made in Cameron's industry. No Cameron = no Dotcom.

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That would be incorrect. Yes some subscribers would have used the service to distribute movies, but many others (like myself) used it to transfer large business files around the world.

Those same people who used the service to distribute movie files have probably moved onto YouSendIt.com and DropStuff.

I don't see them being shut down. Both American owned though.

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Not true. Dotcom provided a library. The public posted all types of material there, only some used it for Movie sharing. Do your homework before you make bold and incorrect statements. We stored faily geaneology there and now can't access as the US govt has shut it down. Who do I sue to get rightful access to our family information?

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Cameron is a bludging freeloader. Let him go elsewhere with his movies. We don't need him as much as he thinks we do. If Keys wants to throw taxpayer money around - fund more NZ movies that make it big globally. We can do it.

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Absolutely right Mr Cameron. Dotcom is to the IP industry as foot and mouth is to our agriculture industry. I still want to know who let this convicted crim into NZ, and WHY?

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For alI I care, Dotcom might be an axe murder. What the hell has that got to do with the fact that he is a NZ resident, and the NZ Govt it would appear, has acted illegally against him?

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This is the same James Cameron who stole the Terminator idea from Harlan Ellison, and admitted it! Then tried to lie his way out of it and was taken to court and lost- but Kim Dotcom is probably dirty- LOL.

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"Eviscerated" eh? First it was eviscerated by the cassette recorder (but it survived) and the by the cd recorder (but it survived) and then by the dvd recorder (but it survived) and by the mp3 player (but it survived) and now the internet? It was scared of not surviving because of Megabox, nothing to do with Megaupload. Go and count your eviscerations

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Yes, a blatent misleading statement from Cameron there. The record companies - as distinct from the wider music industry - are guilty of clinging to business models that are never going to remain viable in the new internet realm. The fact they estimate their lost income (based on claims for damages) at more money than has ever existed in the world demonstrates how absurd they're being.

The fact is, most people pay willingly for good content, but are abandoning outmoded means of delivering the content (e.g. "you must buy the whole album on a plastic disc to get the song you want"). See: Netflix, iTunes, and various donation models that bands have tried online. With artists voices on the one side decrying the record companies' model of raking in the money and delivering little of it to musicians themselves, and the inevitability of technological change on the other, the RIAA is simply clinging to the old model just as others have in the past.

It's time for the RIAA to admit that cars are replacing horses and buggies, and get with the times.

I doubt it's a coincidence that Kim Dotcom was taken down just as he was about to launch an artist direct platform called MegaBox, to introduce even more competition for the record companies.

Cameron does have a point about massive blockbusters requiring big investment, but people still go to see movies that are worth their while. They're perhaps just a bit more selective, and not as willing to waste their money on movies panned by critics and audiences.

But overall, he can't ignore the new business model ramifications and OPPORTUNITIES brought about by the internet.

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Mr Cameron is just another bludger expecting the taxpayer to help fund his next gamble. Hollywood makes billions and like all business there is a risk, but these guys ride high on the hog pretending that some benefit might trickle down to the rest of us. I have no interest in subsidising anyone for anything.

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Dotcom is not as dirty as the USA film industry which you Mr Cameron are part of.

Mr Cameron despite John Key giving you encouragement - the majority of New Zealanders support Dotcom whose Megaupload helped normalise access to the film industry that is overpriced and corrupt.

For your information Mr Cameron, John Key doesn't have a mandate to sell us down the dunny to the Hollywood boffins and you Mr Cameron as a very recent entrant to NZ have no right to speak on behalf of NZ.

Maybe you should just integrate into our community and contribute to our local economy and communities and stay out of local politics and the judicial system that Dotcom is now linked to. You are a very successful man and you have our respect but that will be lost if you start interferring.

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I don't think New Zealanders in this now broke country are going to take kindly to virtually bribing hugely wealthy Hollywood companies to make films here, simply because another hugely wealthy individual who being allowed to buy up even more of the prime land in the North island, and is making ridiculous films, (Avatar- please...) says so.

How much part is greed playing in all this? It's all very well to talk about increased tourism - most New Zealanders don't get one penny profit or relief from heavy government and local government taxes, from these deals between the big boys. Cameron can go jump - and his good mate John Key should say so. The country actually admires Kim Dotcom's stand against the Hollywood Big Boys.

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Dotcoms' website complied with the law and he has done nothing wrong. So far - the only things that have been done illegally in this case have all come from the prosecutors.

This guys is up for millions in compensation: I read elsewhere that Megaupload took in 500 Million a year, he would have lost thousands of customers / revenue...

I seriously believe 700 Million + is owed to Dotcom that looks like it;s coming from us NZ tax payers.....

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comments sound like they come from dotcom buttkisses,don,t know about dotcom getting a cent more like sent home

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So you don't care for the rule of law here in NZ, huh?

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These high profile guys are so good at convincing enough people that their projects are going to pump money into the economy..America's Cup..RWC..LOTR....the economy is no better off than it was 20 yrs ago. But I forgot.. the benefits are intangible right?

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James Cameron is probably dirty ... at least he will be once he gets down to doing some real 'farming' down there in Wairarapa. Wonder how much Mr. Cameron will be paying into NZ taxes that go to the "film incentives" once he becomes a NZ resident, maybe the GCSB should listen in on him before hand .... just saying.

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I think this man is the pot calling the kettle black. It is worse to cheat on the mother of your child don't you think? I call James Cameron DIRTY! 4 Wives shows he is all about HIMSELF! Arrogant JERK!

Hamilton, now 53, started dating Cameron in the early 1990s when he directed her in the first two 'Terminator' films. They had a daughter in 1993. While filming 'Titanic' in 1997, Cameron took up with Suzy Amis, who had a small part in the movie. He came back to Hamilton, married her and left her eight months later for Amis.

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What many do not know is that the Chinese, in Beijing, are spending up large on film studios, TV studios and high end 3d animation studios. There is no way we will be able to compete with them.
Also, India has a flourishing film business. Spielberg now makes his movies there, having abandoned Hollywood.
The unions in Hollywood are driving film productions off shore.
Also, our slow Internet speeds mean sharing digital files is too slow.
One colleague of mine sent a few files to the US and taking into account the upload and then download times, it was quicker to send the hard drive to his clients by post.
So for lots of reasons, we will only pick up occasional movie projects.
I think key believes having movies made here will increase tourism. Seems a high price to pay...

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Mr Cameron appears to say that if three guys in a garage making music get ripped off then that is okay, but you get special treatment if you make a movie. What a strange thing to say. Surely all works should be afforded the same copyright protection.

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I don't get why we should continue to support an industry that can't protect its own property and needs us the Tax Payers to pay for it's protection via the police and courts, they should be required to sue themselves in civil actions.

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dude careful with that. happy to pin the tail on your donkey.

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Hollywood does not need protection from the world, the world needs protection from Hollywood!

Do a quick google of 'Hollywood Accounting'. The studio bosses have been ripping off creative artists for probably 10 times as much as the supposed $500M MegaUpload cost the industry.

Hollywood even tried to steal money from Sir Peter Jackson over payments he was owed from Lord of the Rings with their bogus accounting to funnel funds into their own pockets. Sir Peter had to take them to court to get what was rightfully his!

How on earth can the John Key support the proposition that Hollywood needs to get a 15% cash back grant to do business here when no other industry get similar treatment.

Lets take the New Zealand software industry that has the potential to earn significantly more than the movie production industry (based on the market capitalization of publicly listed IT companies vs the market capitalization of all movie and music companies). Instead of offering the New Zealand software industry a 15% cash back grant the government introduced a known loophole (currently used in Europe) into legislation before the house that will allow software patents. The addition of this loophole was against the wishes of over 90% of the New Zealand Software industry and against select committee recommendations. What's more there is clear evidence that the change in position of the government to allow the software patents loophole came after meeting with representatives of Microsoft and IBM who are two of the biggest holders of software patents globally.

If it is the New Zealand Governments current policy to "pick winners" with preferential treatment does it appear that the winners that appear to have been picked are all multi-national corporations? Wouldn't it help our unemployment rate if the government decided to back NZ companies instead?

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Its perfectly normal for industries to seek to protect themselves and it is similarly so for others to want to capitalise on the success of a successful industry. What is not normal is to try and turn a crook into a saint... Kim Dotcom is a convicted insider trader. He drives cars around golf courses and posts the footage on youtube... he is nothing more than a crook who is taking advantage of NZ... How in the world did someone with a criminal conviction get to immigrate to NZ... The we go and ban Mike Tyson from visiting our country... where is the logic in that??? At the end of the day we have more to loose from the film industry than we have to gain from helping Dotcom... what a bunch of suckers we are...

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There is no point looking in the rear view mirror, Immigration had the $10m business investor immigration category, Mr Dotcom applied for it and was granted residency. Take the policy up with Government if you don't like it.

There is evidence to suggest that Dotcom was in preliminary stages of IPOing MegaUpload and had a valuation in the order of $1-2 Billion NZD.

I think it is a stretch to suggest that NZ will be better off by caving into film studio demands for higher and higher cash back grants than a big jolly German who loves to spend money with a spare $2 Billion. That is if the FBI and NZ police had not illegally shut down his business and eroded $1-2B of equity valuation without due process of law.

With a spare billion and Dotcom's love of the Internet and technology and having a family of Kiwi children growing up here it wouldn't be a huge stretch to consider he might have be supporter or investor in additional bandwidth capabilities from NZ to the world to compete with the Southern Cross Cable. Having his own fibre cables to the USA could have guaranteed Mr Dotcom very low ping times for online gaming so long as our intelligence agencies didn't route it through some legacy switching technology and add 180ms latency to the system.

In addition to the 1.4% of GDP that a $2B NZD IPO could bring to New Zealand having an globally successful Internet billionaire in our country could spur on local software and technology innovation. Well that was before Mr Foss sold out the NZ software industry at the behest of Microsoft and IBM.

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Let's not forget that Hollywood only came to prominence as an effort to avoid paying patent fees. Hypocrisy much?

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Gee So Cameron ,a filmaker who gets massive tax breaks from taxpayers of NZ like me who actually work with their hands and get dirty has sway over a puppet prime minister like ours who likes nothing better than to ham it up with holly jollywood richlist types ! Yeah Dotcoms so much worse he doesnt ask for any taxbreaks hes just not playing by the PMs and this filmakers rules !
Oh yeah didnt we make it easy for Cameron to buy up some farms in the Wairarapa too ? Stick to diving Cameron .

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At the end all is about New Zealanders who think they are smart - hahaha. - the world is laughing, look at your education problems, third world problems in family violence (which is very sad) and much more. Ridiculous to think NZ is a great country. Why is Hollywood even talking to NZ, only to make more profit for that particular project and next time? You are so dumb, but continue to think you are such a great country with great people... The problem in NZ is that their people think they know it all and better and are so off the world standard, so ridiculous! In fact this is what is holding back a country, which could have success as it has a unique selling proposition (aahh maybe you haven't heard this academic word yet New Zealand as you are a country of plumbers and builders and immigrants, who never made it in their home country or even were criminal), just think about your position in the world and niches you could serve. Oh and I forgot something, why did Dotcom come to NZ... New Zealanders are just dumb to understand - OMG how naive you are. He is smart, NZ not.

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It will take more than a "smile and wave" for JK to deflect the massive claim that could arrive from Mr Dotcom as compensation for the amazing bungles in this misguided affair.
Perhaps in future our Govt will not be so ready to bow to the wishes of US Democrats who are being threatened by Hollywood;let's hope so!
liberte

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