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Ex-democrat threatens his former Senate colleague

"Don't take us for granted."

That was the message the former Democrat Senator from Connecticut Chris Dodd sent his old Senate colleague -- and now President -- Barack Obama on Thursday in an exclusive Fox News interview.  

I. MPAA Threatens SOPA opposers

But Mr. Dodd, now CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, didn't stop there.  He went on to threaten his former Congressional colleagues -- both Republican and Democrat -- who together formed the bipartisan resistance that sunk the House's "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) (H.R. 3261) and Senate's "PROTECT IP Act" (PIPA) (S.968).

Obama flag
U.S. President Barack Obama [Image Source: SFGate]

He comments, "Candidly, those who count on quote 'Hollywood' for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who's going to stand up for them when their job is at stake.  Don't ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don't pay any attention to me when my job is at stake."

Despite seeing record profits, driven by a 35 percent rise in Blu Ray movie sales Chris Dodd and the MPAA insist that the movie industry is in dire trouble due to piracy.  He points to Avatar being stolen 21 million times as one example of piracy's decimating blow to the movie industry.  Of course he purposefully fails to note that Avatar made almost $3B USD at the box office worldwide.

He does his best to argue for Orwellian laws like SOPA, by trying to recharacterize the issue as a matter of little guys getting exploited, "You can complain and say, well, actors make a lot of money and they don't have to worry about this.  You tell that to that camera guy, you tell that to that makeup artist, you tell that to that truck driver out there who made, makes a living because they work in this industry."

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

Chris Dodd ran against President Obama in 2008, but lost.  Afterwards he turned to a new career in lobbying, quickly securing his high-paying job as MPAA chief.

II. Editorial Take: Bribery is the Staus Quo in D.C. Today

A CEO threatening the U.S. President and Congress is a pretty bold move, and it is indicative of the sordid web of bribery that Washington D.C. has found itself in.  These days it's hard to get anything done at the federal level without a heavy lubricating layer of lobbyists bribes.

The big Hollywood CEO picks an inopportune time to attack President Obama, given that  members of Hollywood's elite -- top actors and companies -- have already given him $4.1M USD -- more than the $3.7M USD they gave to his campaign in 2008.  And the decision by the administration to break its silence and side with tech firms like Google Inc. (GOOG) in opposing SOPA, is expected to draw more lobbyist bribes from these top tech firms.

The conflict between Google, et al. and the MPAA, et al. in lobbyist dollars is illustrative of the unseemingly current nature of federal politics.  Today corporations and special interest groups essentially "own" pieces of the federal government.  

Bribe under table
These days it's hard to get anything done in D.C. without a bribe. [Image Source: i-Sight]

When their interests are independent or in line with each other they see their desired goals -- like millions in tax breaks -- easily passed, hidden as line item additions to bloated pieces of legislation.  But when their interests run counter to each other, they're forced to wage a war of bribes.

At the same time the U.S. people and small business owners are largely left out of the process, while there relatively high tax burden is funneled towards companies that have "bribed the best" on the Hill.  A recent study by the University of Kansas School of Business reveals that for ever $1 USD spent in lobbyist contributions, a corporation receives $222 USD in tax breaks.  The bill for those tax breaks is inevitably passed to the usual suspect -- the American taxpayer.

Sources: Fox News, NPR [$1 lobbyist = $222 tax breaks]

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By abhaxus on 1/22/2012 7:30:13 PM , Rating: 3
I accidentally voted you up, but in a way you are right. We should pay. I pay for IP when it is the most convenient method for me to acquire high quality media. Unfortunately, due to the DRM involved in most things coming out of Hollywood (or gaming studios) makes it less likely that I can watch or play something at reasonable quality for a fair price, with a reasonable expectation of being able to play it continuously forever. It's a sad state of affairs when you pay extra for a blu-ray to include an "ultraviolet" digital copy that only works when connected to the internet on certain mobile devices and at a ridiculously poor quality. So I would rather download a 1080p or 720p mkv internal rip that plays perfectly on my GS2, PC, PS3, and tablet. I also own over 100 blurays and 200 DVDs.

Gaming wise the situation is even worse. I have had to download a crack to play games I have legally purchased enough that it is now a force of habit that I download a DVD check disabler and crack for every game I buy (or I just purchase through steam).

If I could pay $5-10 and download a movie with no DRM, in a format that everything understands, at a slightly lower quality than blu-ray, I would buy more movies. And the industry would make more money. But they are terrified of giving users that kind of control.

By YashBudini on 1/22/2012 8:29:21 PM , Rating: 2
ue to the DRM involved in most things coming out of Hollywood (or gaming studios) makes it less likely that I can watch or play something at reasonable quality for a fair price, with a reasonable expectation of being able to play it continuously forever.

It's more than that, you have a right to make a personal backup copy to safeguard your investment. That has been your right, and it's being eliminated.

with a reasonable expectation of being able to play it continuously forever

Given how easily the plastic scratches I never had such an expectation. But I have owned vinyl with hundreds of plays that sounded like new.

But this is strangely a parallel I see elsewhere in life. There are several intersections in this area completely abused by a handful of cars that do not stop first. Rather than punish just them through enforcement the town puts up a sign that says "No turn on red," which punishes everyone, except the cars who were not stopping on red and the only ones there, because alone they still don't stop.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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