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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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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.




"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA














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