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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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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.

http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/

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
quote:
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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Ac...

quote:
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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-eYBZFEzf8

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.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997














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