Print 40 comment(s) - last by cmdrdredd.. on Apr 9 at 9:48 PM

MPAA chief says technology firms and big media need to reach an "understanding"

It was a curious juxtaposition.  After seeing many of his top donors -- notably big media and tech giants like Google Inc. (GOOG) -- at odds over Congressional punitive proposals of copyright enforcement, President Obama's administration threw its weight behind sinking the Orwellian "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) (H.R. 3261).  In the end, it left copyright watchdogs like the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) coming up empty after pouring out nearly 10 percent of active Senators election costs.

In a post-mortem interview about SOPA, the MPAA's new chief, ex-Democratic Senator Chris Dodd seemed to threaten President Obama for appearing to join the push against SOPA.  But that warning seemed a bit suspicious, given the record $4.1M USD members of Hollywood's elite -- top actors and companies -- had given U.S. President Barack Obama in his reelection bid.  Whether MPAA chief Dodd and the President were truly enemies was further called into question when the President approved the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), an executive order that many saw as a way of sneaking in SOPA-like permissions without Congressional approval.

In a new interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Sen. Dodd drops former hints that his former colleague might really be on board with the MPAA and RIAA's goals, and that his former rhetoric might have merely been a clever bit of social engineering designed to divert public vehemence over SOPA away from his close ally President Obama.

Chris Dodd
MPAA's corpulent CEO Chris Dodd
[Image Source: Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom]

In the interview Sen. Dodd says that he is "confident" that Obama is working to bring technology firms on board with a SOPA-like proposal.  The interviewer asks, "What is the status of the Stop Online Piracy Act?...Are there conversations going on now?"

He first responds, "I'm confident that's the case, but I'm not going to go into more detail because obviously if I do, it becomes counterproductive."

But when asked about the President, he unexpectedly cites him as a supporter in such efforts, stating, "I'm not going to revisit the events of last winter. I'll only say to you that I'm confident [Obama is] using his good relationships in both communities [tech, big media] to do exactly what you and I have been talking about."

Obama flag
U.S. President Barack Obama [Image Source: SFGate]
The optimism echoes that of the RIAA's CEO Cary Sherman who in a New York Times opinion piece mocked the SOPA protests as "demagoguery", not "democracy".  In the piece Mr. Sherman expressed hopes of a SOPA revival, stating that he believed the public's outrage was a "one time" performance.

Indeed, it is feasible to think that Congress could bea bit more subtle in terms of slipping SOPA-like provisions into other bills, rather than bundling them together into one easy target for opponents.  Likewise, if such efforts were sweetened by offers of money for tech companies -- from either the big media themselves, or by government supplied tax breaks -- they could get behind the idea.  In fact, telecoms have recently bit at precisely such a scheme (media providing the cost of enforcement), when offered.

So will the RIAA and MPAA get there way?  We won't know for some time.  But former Senator Chris Dodd is confident they will.

Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, New York Times

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By andromeda05 on 4/7/2012 1:24:02 AM , Rating: 5
i relly hope the US votes vote this guy out he's starting to adopt policy that not only screws with the US but the rest of the world.

ex: the US can no longer buy or sell weapons from most countries and Canada is one them.

RE: Obama
By ionicbluebird on 4/7/2012 4:14:42 AM , Rating: 5
And vote in who though? I find it unlikely that anyone but a democrat or a republican will be voted in, and they are basically two hands attached to the same body if you will. Pessimistically speaking.

RE: Obama
By Reclaimer77 on 4/7/2012 8:18:39 AM , Rating: 2
Oh come off that please. Republicans aren't perfect, but there's no way they would lead us down the road Obama has at the rate of Mach 3.

The only party even attempting to listen to the people right now are the Republicans. For that reason ALONE you should support them in the election. Tell me that Obama and his Administration aren't directly ruling against the people of this country.

If you want to give this disaster another 4 years, you had better come up with a better reason than that. Tell me about all the great things he's done that shows he deserves another term.

RE: Obama
By TSS on 4/7/2012 10:57:16 AM , Rating: 2
Repulicans listening to the people? Really? That's so crazy, i'm inclined to belive you.

I do wonder though, in what way do they listen to the people that obama does not? And tax cuts don't count, Obama cut taxes as well.

RE: Obama
By Reclaimer77 on 4/7/2012 11:12:57 AM , Rating: 1
Right lets pretend that the majority of Americans want Obamacare shall we?

How about the budget. Do the majority of Americans want this level of spending?

Sorry but Republicans obviously represent more Americans than Democrats do on more issues. Only a lunatic could see otherwise. Maybe you should take a look at Obama and Congresses (real) approval ratings. Can we say nuff said?

RE: Obama
By lyeoh on 4/7/2012 2:44:34 PM , Rating: 5
If you're worried about healthcare spending, you're probably already paying for it. You're just getting poor value for your money.

Guess who pays for the poor people sitting in ER till their turn or they become sick enough to get priority? It's not the poor people, they have no money. You pay. Via taxes, via higher medical fees, via more hospitals closing down their ERs, via remaining ERs getting overloaded.

Whether Obamacare is a good way of fixing it I don't know. I don't live in the USA, so it doesn't really affect me. But you bunch ALREADY spend huge amounts on healthcare and aren't getting good value for it.

The USA's healthcare (and government ;) ) is the best that money can buy. If you're rich it's very good. But most US citizens and residents aren't rich enough.

RE: Obama
By dark matter on 4/8/12, Rating: -1
RE: Obama
By Reclaimer77 on 4/8/12, Rating: 0
RE: Obama
By Norseman4 on 4/8/2012 5:33:39 PM , Rating: 2
How about the budget. Do the majority of Americans want this level of spending?

Budget? The Senate hasn't passed a budget for a very long time. (Jan 24 marked 1000 days, and one hasn't been passed since then.) Spending resolutions and trillion dollar wastes have been passed, but no budget.

If these lawyers and congressional law professors tried to run a business this way, they would have been out of business faster than Solyndra.

RE: Obama
By nolisi on 4/9/2012 11:27:30 AM , Rating: 1
Sorry but Republicans obviously represent more Americans than Democrats do on more issues. Only a lunatic could see otherwise.

....and that's why a Republican President is currently in office. Oh, wait...

I think I'm gonna go with...wait for it... nuff said.

RE: Obama
By cmdrdredd on 4/9/2012 9:48:53 PM , Rating: 2
....and that's why a Republican President is currently in office. Oh, wait... I think I'm gonna go with...wait for it... nuff said.

Cause the Republican party didn't pay people to vote multiple times and have dead people vote.

RE: Obama
By dark matter on 4/8/2012 4:59:24 AM , Rating: 4
None the political parties will do what the people want.

You're an idiot if you believe ANY of them care about anything other than power.

RE: Obama
By sweatshopking on 4/8/12, Rating: 0
RE: Obama
By icemansims on 4/8/2012 1:11:24 PM , Rating: 2
You are forgetting, of course, that it was the DEMOCRATIC PARTY which defeated SOPA, not the REPUBLICAN party, which supported it. Keep trying, hoss.

RE: Obama
By FITCamaro on 4/8/2012 9:00:20 PM , Rating: 2
Oh I'm sorry so now Chris Dodd was a Republican? And Obama is? SOPA was supported by both Democrats and Republicans. And if Dodd is accurate, Obama is working to revive it in the shadows. Like most of his controversial legislation.

RE: Obama
By nolisi on 4/9/2012 11:24:40 AM , Rating: 2
Oh I'm sorry so now Chris Dodd was a Republican?

Chris Dodd is obviously in the pocket of the highest bidder. You've heard of RINOs, right? Why do you ignore the existence of DINOs? Are you a creationist? (horrible joke, I know)

And if Dodd is accurate, Obama is working to revive it in the shadows.

Hmm, presenting supposition in a manner that plants the idea and leaves the argument with the implication that it's likely true. If I'm accurate, you're only in favor of Dodd's statement because it would be a critique of the President and are wholly uninterested in facts. And if I'm not mistaken, this is a tactic often employed by a particular Newscorp subsidiary, and that you, Dodd, and the aforementioned subsidiary have a lot in common.

RE: Obama
By geddarkstorm on 4/9/2012 12:36:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's not a leap that this stuff would be worked on in the shadows, NAFTA was after all, and that had massive effects. And of course ACTA was worked on in the shadows away from the public by -several nations together-.

Shady business is the norm, doesn't even require supposition. Thankfully, it has to see the light of day before passing into law, and that gives us a chance to oppose it if when it does.

RE: Obama
By Focher on 4/9/2012 12:30:30 PM , Rating: 2
Let's see what Republicans have given us just in the last 2 years. Pass anti-abortion legislation, attack collective bargaining and unions, try to get rid of Medicare, cut Social Security, try to repeal Obamacare (which the majority Americans DO support - you just have to ask them about the actual things in it, not "Do you support Obamacare?"), rail against private insurance covering birth control, protect banks and investment firms from regulation, protect the richest people from returning to the tax rates under Reagan, pass voter ID laws which are intended to solve a problem which doesn't exist (voter fraud) but does disenfranchise minorities, and dredge up falsehoods about Obama's citizenship and religion.

I've got a whole list of issues about Obama's policies - most of which are the ones he continued from the idiot who came before him - but the idea I would vote for certifiably insane people that just went through the Republican primary is ludicrous.

RE: Obama
By KCjoker on 4/9/2012 5:37:24 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, the sad part is I think you actually believe that nonsense you wrote.

RE: Obama
By HrilL on 4/9/2012 12:41:46 PM , Rating: 2
Yup. Both parties suck. Ron Paul is a good choice though. Big media already hates him as well.

RE: Obama
By gorehound on 4/7/2012 9:15:59 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately it is both Parties who support this type of garbage.
Reps and Dems sign on to SOPA/PIPA and these other obnoxious loss of Rights Bills.
What we really need is to get both of those Parties out and get New Ones in with better Values.

RE: Obama
By mcnabney on 4/7/2012 11:07:33 AM , Rating: 1
You are just mad because they are threatening your perceived right to 'steal' media that you want. Of course the MPAA/RIAA are lobbying Washington (both parties), passing favorable laws gets them paid. They like money. I suspect you do to? Just gut the authoritarian/privacy crap from SOPA, and provide better tools to deter piracy both domestically and abroad. While I agree that companies are overpricing their products, taking it unpaid because you claim some 'right' to it is just not right. If anyone could find a middle ground it is Obama. The GOP are the ones that put the anti-privacy stuff in there in the first place. Changing presidents will only make the next SOPA worse.

RE: Obama
By Alexvrb on 4/7/2012 10:28:50 PM , Rating: 1
Most of the Republican candidates came out swinging AGAINST SOPA (including Romney). Furthermore, most of the support for SOPA/PIPA comes from the Democrats - especially after the public outcry and protests. A lot of Congressmen quickly realized their constituents did not want this, and turned against it. But as a percentage, more Democrats stuck to their RIAA-funded SOPA/PIPA guns, even after the protests.

19:113 For/Against on Republican side
35:91 For/Against for the Democrats

Obama of course is deeply attached to Hollywood, so his support was a no brainer. Heck he unilaterally got a mini-SOPA (ACTA) in place via an executive order, and there's nothing you can do about it while he's in office.

RE: Obama
By Amedean on 4/8/2012 11:18:51 AM , Rating: 2
Most of the Republican candidates came out swinging AGAINST SOPA (including Romney).

Yes, only after massive online protests - afterall it was a Republican made bill.

But as a percentage, more Democrats stuck to their RIAA-funded SOPA/PIPA guns, even after the protests.

So what is the percentage hmmm....made it up? Also the RIAA funds both parties but one can speculate more Republicans in the House and more Democrats in the Senate. If you know how the law process works you will understand why.

So I hope you learned something here. By the way, I hope you come to terms with president Obama's next election win because the Republican lineup is pretty lousy.

By Jeffk464 on 4/6/2012 7:58:25 PM , Rating: 4
Hollywood already told him that if he doesn't support SOPA they were going to cut him off from campaign money. So who does he worry about the voter or his financiers?

RE: influence
By Solandri on 4/7/2012 1:45:52 PM , Rating: 2
Hollywood's mistake was having SOPA come up for a vote just before an election year, thinking they could use the carrot of campaign donations to sway votes. An election year is when our elected officials care a little more about what the voters think, than about campaign contributions.

The real test is going to be in 2013, when all of the politicians feel secure in their jobs and there are 2, 4, or 6 years for the People to forget their misdeeds before the next election. That's when Hollywood is going to try to push this through again. Campaign contributions made in 2013 can sit in the bank until 2014, 2016, and 2018.

RE: influence
By FITCamaro on 4/8/12, Rating: 0
RE: influence
By Focher on 4/9/2012 12:33:23 PM , Rating: 2
Money does talk, but the entertainment industry is getting a reality check that the technology sector has a LOT more money than they do. That's why their new strategy is to pay off the technology companies too.

Major Corporations, Government, and you...
By pv on 4/8/2012 10:23:26 AM , Rating: 3
For the people who can see the cycle, its actually a beautiful example of how systems that previously work start to fail.

1) You have a society that has suddenly become media and communications rich. 100 years ago, information traveled as fast as the mail. Now information travels at the speed of light (even faster in some cases :P ). Our system of law and representation was created in an era were communications took time - up to two weeks - to reach the most far flung areas of the US (which weren't all that far flung by modern standards). Our system of representation was based on that ideal, because people had to elect local representatives who were then sent to the capitol to do their work.

2) Because of the uptick in social awareness, and the prevalence of mass-media, communications, and instant communication, Media giants have a massive amount of control in the electoral process. Instead of having to go and meet your representative in person to get a feel for what they're going to be doing for you in office, you don't even have to leave your living room - because they're broadcasting their intent to you through media channels. This costs money, money most representatives aren't willing to part with out of pocket. Therefore campaigns must raise immense amounts of money in order to compete.

The largest source of money for most campaigns are the rich and powerful. They are giving their money not because of genuine support - but because it is an investment. The money invested is used to create advertising campaigns, which feed the media markets. How the media markets present these campaigns determines whose message is a) heard most often and B) seen in the most positive light.

The money investment forces campaigns to give special consideration to the rich and powerful. It also forces the rich and powerful to invest - because the alternative is not having their interests listened to if their supported candidate fails to win. However, both sides know it is the media systems that have ultimate control over victory - because without the media, a candidates message becomes that much harder to hear.

3) the modern voting process is media rich, you are basically supporting a candidate that is - for better or worse - what their media image is. You have just spent the last 9-16 months being bombarded by media information from your favorite party (democrat or republican) and are so angry and ticked off at your opposing party that you're willing to break your neighbors legs (if you can get away with it) to keep him from voting if he votes for the other team. (I've seen people who wanted to vote end up with slashed tires, had information about polling stations stolen from their door, people create fake information about polling stations... (that one was done to me, but I knew where my polling station was) all to keep the people they think would vote against their favorite party from doing it. There is even a large contingent of Americans that have registered with the other party for the express purpose of messing with the primary process). The end result is that you blindly vote for the person who a) has the most media cash and b) is strongly supported by the rich and powerful, c) has the most support for popular media outlets.

Do you really think that any politician is going to follow the will of the people when the people really have no say in who gets elected because of the ultra-smooth marketing system that is in place - one that most Americans believe in more than any act of government? Angry Americans tend to be fanatical about their supported party. You can't argue with them, you can't convince them they're wrong on any issue. You say one negative thing about their party of choice, you might as well be Lucifer himself. When people are referred to "sheeple" this is the reason why. And the modern campaign is designed to take aim at people, divide them on cultural, emotional, racial and religious lines, and keep them glaring at each other from opposite sides of the fence - so angry that they can't see that their vote is just being used, and that their real concerns will never be addressed. In the end, people become so apathetic that they refuse to vote - in which case they don't deserve to get their issues listened to anyways.

This is how a system gets corrupted people. And every American has a ringside seat.

RE: Major Corporations, Government, and you...
By DrizztVD on 4/9/2012 5:32:21 AM , Rating: 2
I have to agree that your arguments do, for the most part, have a sound basis. It's increasingly clear that political campaigning is a popularity contest. This much is known. Your argument that media companies act as the channeling medium for this contest has merit, yet falls apart on the premise that because they are the medium, they dictate the politician’s choices. It’s not true that the media can magically determine how to present a politician to the people, so that he/she gets re-elected. Amount of exposure does not really translate directly into popularity. In the end it’s still the people who cast the votes.

While you point out that people can be very fanatical about their political beliefs, it merely is a standard human trait, and not indicative of the health of the system necessarily. I would argue that there are enough clear-thinking individuals to counter this phenomenon.

The main argument is the health of the political system in the light of large media corporation intervention. While I have stated that I do not believe that these companies can really dictate politics by their own individual will, money is powerful and does have some influence. My counter argument is not that media influence is ineffectual, but rather that there is minimal harm to society due to their intervention.

If their sole purpose is to provide legislation that can limit the uncontrolled copying of intellectual property, I really don’t see why anyone’s life is in danger. Their purpose could be self-serving (massive profits) but in reality no company can indefinitely receive abnormal profits in a market without it generating a lot of competition. My argument time and again has been that the indiscriminate copying of media has made the market such that the only companies that could survive in the market are the ones that use indiscriminate tactics to generate profits. Now we have a situation where the demand side of the market (the people) are complaining of the very tactics they had a hand in necessitating.

This is not an example of the failing of the electoral system. This is an example of the response to long-term exploitation of companies by people without the fear of retribution. This problem would not exist if the people did not create it in the first place- by having stuff they don’t have a right to own. Now I can already hear the multitude of arguments that want to justify such action. The question you have to ask yourself is: what if there is no excuse for this? I can assure you that the fruits of good actions are good results. What results do we see in the market? Bad? What type of actions caused it?

By Invane on 4/9/2012 12:12:17 PM , Rating: 2
Your argument that media companies act as the channeling medium for this contest has merit, yet falls apart on the premise that because they are the medium, they dictate the politician’s choices. It’s not true that the media can magically determine how to present a politician to the people, so that he/she gets re-elected. Amount of exposure does not really translate directly into popularity. In the end it’s still the people who cast the votes.

Yet to deny that the media has a large effect on the results is foolish. There are millions of dollars spent determining the best way to manipulate the American populace via mass media. In most cases, this is done for marketing purposes to determine how best to part them with their money, but you can bet your ass this is applied to the best of their ability for political gain as well.

The people's vote is done based on the information provided to them (or not provided to them) by the media. This simple fact has given the American ruling class an unprecedented level of control over the political process.

By cladari on 4/7/2012 1:46:38 PM , Rating: 4
None of this is about piracy, that is just the topic. This is about getting you used to having your internet controlled. They will wear us down until there is nothing left.

The internet was too free and promoted the free exchange of ideas throughout the world, that is a danger to governments everywhere and could not be allowed to stand.

The government, all governments, see their job as remaining the government. Anything that requires will be done.

By Denithor on 4/6/2012 8:01:14 PM , Rating: 2
You guys need to use at least a basic spelling & grammar checker before posting!

So will the RIAA and MPAA get there way? We won't know for some time. But former Senator Chris Dodd is confident they will.

'there' should be 'their'

RE: Really?
By stardude692001 on 4/6/2012 10:25:16 PM , Rating: 1
who cares? you can still understand it and I didn't even notice it. We should make you people watch twiter feeds until your heads explode.

Typical Politician
By KPOM1 on 4/7/2012 11:45:19 PM , Rating: 2
Democrats claim to support the "99%" but Dodd justs show that most politicians are for sale to the highest bidder. Slamming big business all those years in the Senate was just for show. As soon as he "retired" (knowing voters would kick him out), he's just became a K-street lobbyist doing the bidding of big business.

Time to fight.
By dark matter on 4/8/2012 4:58:24 AM , Rating: 2
Because the constitution is but a scrap of paper unless you fight for it.

Having a government that does the bidding of organisations is not what the founding fathers envisaged.

And for the love of God, will the dweebs please stop defending multi-nationals (ie, fanboys of both google and apple). They are NOT your friend. They couldn't give a fuck about what you think, so long as the money keeps rolling in.

Jumping the Gun
By Loveless on 4/9/2012 8:58:33 AM , Rating: 2
I believe that, when SOPA was voted out, Congress agreed that online piracy was a problem, but SOPA was not the solution. Doesn't that imply that they would eventually start looking for another solution? It seems natural to me. I'm not sure why there would be any surprise.

I understand there would be suspicion towards this bill, but idon't believe it is reasonable to assume that the new version will be "Orwellian". None of us have even seen the text of it yet.

And if the reason you don't want this bill is because you like piracy, then you won't get any sympathy from me.

By Arsynic on 4/9/2012 10:06:31 AM , Rating: 2
Guys, time to get a dose of reality. Washington doesn't operate in a bubble. Laws don't come out of thin air. Corporate special interests help get these politicians elected and expect pay back. Look at the "green" environmental extremist industry. They own the Obama administration as much as "Big Oil" owned the Bush Administration. Hollywood helped get Obama elected and are working heavily to get him reelected and they expect him to pay the Piper if he gets the nod again. So "Big Music" and "Big Film" own your politicians and they will work like hell to get SOPA or something like it into law.

Once you guys come to terms with the fact that this is a Democracy (aka "mob rule") where groups of people with money can dictate to politicians what they want, you'll quit with your Donkey vs. Elephant bickering. This is precisely why the founding fathers wanted to avoid a Democracy. It's two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for supper. Guess what, your Internet freedom is next on the menu.

Oh Yeah....
By knutjb on 4/9/2012 10:58:05 AM , Rating: 2
I do think content creators have a right to protect their creations. The level of cost, punishment, and restrictions to ones use after purchasing said content is a serious problem. They think they have the right to complete control over you using their content. If they have their way you will have to pay every time you use anything. If you buy music and want to take from your computer and put it on your phone they want more money. It would then come down to how long you can stop listening and buying new content.

If the president chooses to do it unilaterally he will create yet another imbecilic firestorm. This issue is being driven by his big campaign donators. They are the ones whom he is having trouble getting contributions. Congress will likely pass on this during a highly contested election year. I don’t think the president can sign anything that will have any teeth. I think, for the moment, this is a dead issue. If the president signs an executive letter to enact this he will be seen by moderates as a totalitarian and that will not help him in Nov. Most people prefer Congress to write the laws.

Perhaps those pushing SOPA see this as their last chance for some time to get their way.

Yes, both sides are guilty of pushing SOPA. If you think you don’t have any control over it you are a fool. Do notice who changed their direction after the public outcry. When the contents of SOPA came out it was canned after the public and some businesses screamed loudly. I believe this will happen if they try to do this again and the smarter legislators know this.

For how long?
By Dorkyman on 4/9/2012 11:23:50 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I think content creators have a right to their creations--for a short time. Kinda like patents, you know?

Instead, the heavyweights like Disney have warped the copyright system in a "perpetual license" where things NEVER go into the public domain. That's one reason why I really don't care very much about "protecting" their "rights."

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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