Ex-Senate Dem. Dodd "Confident" Obama is Quietly Drafting SOPA Subsitute
April 6, 2012 6:02 PM
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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. (
) -- at odds over Congressional
punitive proposals of copyright enforcement
, President Obama's administration
threw its weight
behind sinking the
). In the end, it left copyright watchdogs like the
Motion Picture Association of America
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
(ACTA), an executive order that many saw as a way of sneaking in SOPA-like permissions without Congressional approval.
In a new
, 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.
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."
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
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.
The Hollywood Reporter
New York Times
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
4/7/2012 1:45:52 PM
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.
"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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