MPAA threatens Congress over SOPA, says blackout "abuse of power"

By on January 24, 2012, 4:30 PM

Former senator turned MPAA CEO, Christopher Dodd, managed to earn the public's ire this week by making remarks which many claim are akin to a public admission of bribery. A petition to investigate the former senator has already garnered over 25,000 supporters -- enough support to warrant an official response from the White House. 

While discussing SOPA with Fox News, Dodd stated that Hollywood would pull its financial support from politicians -- especially democrats -- if they chose to support the tech industry over Hollywood. The former senator said:

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. …

I would caution people don’t make the assumption that because the quote 'Hollywood community' has been historically supportive of Democrats, which they have, don’t make the false assumptions this year that because we did it in years past, we will do it this year. These issues before us -- this is the only issue that goes right to the heart of this industry.

While the underlying mechanics of quid pro quo seem apparent in Dodd's message to public officials, a spokesman for the MPAA worked to smooth over the CEO's verbal misstep with this rather truistic statement, "Senator Dodd was merely making the obvious point that people support politicians whose views coincide with their own. When politicians take positions that people disagree with, those people tend not to support".

The interview came just after a MPAA public statement which criticized (PDF) website operators for participating in the anti-SOPA blackout protest. Although it names no names, the open letter accuses websites like Wikipedia for furthering their own corporate interests by abusing the power and freedom they are afforded as a business. The letter states:

"some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging.

It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.

A so-called 'blackout' is yet another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administration officials,"

Dodd's recent words also drew a direct response from Wikipedia Founder, Jimmy Wales. During the Design Life Digital (DLD) conference in Munich, Wales voiced his belief that Dodd ought to be fired.

"That’s not an abuse of power, that’s democracy," Wales fired back, responding to accusations that websites were abusing their power by staging blackout protests against SOPA. He also said that Dodd "had best get used to it", indicating that over 10 million people contacted Congress about SOPA.

Dodd left public service early last year in order to become the Motion Picture Association of America's chief executive officer. He admits the road has been bumpy.

"Up until a week ago I thought that was a pretty good decision," Dodd jokingly quipped. "the white noise has made it impossible to have a conversation about this," he continued. "We’ve gotta find a better way to have that conversation than we have in the last two weeks."




User Comments: 43

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H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

Punch him.

That's how I feel right now looking at that old fool!

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Dodd is such a putz. How did anyone as arrogant and uneducated as he is get to be a Senator (the people of Connecticut should be embarrassed as hell for voting him in) and CEO of the MPAA?

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Well he is right. His job is under pressure because the people want change in the industry. They want the model to change. And Chris, the customer is ALWAYS right. You want to keep trying to putty up your leaky, archaic business model, you can try. Someone in Hollywood may some day have the balls to give people what they want and they will succeed where you are so publicly failing.

Steam is proof that online distribution works and beats piracy.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

A so-called 'blackout' is yet another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administration officials"

I think that was the point...?

Guest said:

I agreed I use steam to buy lots games they showed that online distribution works legally. Now if MPAA/RIAA could figure this out we be much better off.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Sounds a lot like the reaction that the British had towards the Boston tea party... Funny that protest and demonstration in defense of basic liberties was part of the founding of America, yet when it doesn't suit corporate America, it's "abuse of power." And yet, the companies who are trying to institute changes to benefit themselves at the expense of the people (and potentially have a massive international impact as well) are abusing their own power and trying to buy off officials that were elected by the people.

I don't think there has been any clearer example of the pot calling the kettle black in recent memory.

ramonsterns said:

More like, Christofail Dud.

Guest said:

Hollywood has turned our country to garbage. Stop buying their new releases. Stop going to the movies on opening day. Stop spending money on Hollywood products. Their influence is destroying us. Hollywood is out of control. Stop giving them money!

Guest said:

Agreeing with the post above me. Also, most of their movies today are plain horrible, and they charge far too much. Hollywood gets no sympathy from me.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

Hollywood has turned our country to garbage. Stop buying their new releases. Stop going to the movies on opening day. Stop spending money on Hollywood products. Their influence is destroying us. Hollywood is out of control. Stop giving them money!

As much as I agree, I doubt that will ever happen.

Guest said:

Steve Jobs showed everyone how to monetize downloaded content and make sure creators get money. Too bad the movie industry is so backward that they can't even figure out a way to effectively copy that model. They already have consumers over a barrel with the Millennium Copyright Act, wherein you are a law-breaker if you copy a DVD that you bought at full price. Its high time consumers stopped subsidizing uncreative & repetitive entertainment with high prices on the things that are actually good.

Guest said:

kick him in the balls! grrr! lol

PinothyJ said:

Wales is just as bad! At least Dodd is rolling in dough from MPAA and kickbacks, Wales is rolling in it from a NOT for profit organisation that *needs* well over ten million a year to operate (I call BS).

This is tosser V tosser...

Guest said:

I had the impression it was the community that asked for a blackout from these companies? If not, they totally supported the idea once it appeared on the internet.

treetops treetops said:

Screw those hollywood aholes they are the only reason sopa and pipa came to be. They lobbied for them. Lobbying meaning they threw money at them, both sides. Now they are crying because the voice of the people beat their deep pockets.

Guest said:

"It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It's a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests."

-- Sounds like he's talking about the mainstream media to me. o_O

Guest said:

One comes to wonder, what would happen if everyone skips the next big screening. Let them know the consequences of acting in front of an angry audience. How dare you bite the hands that feeds you. Suddenly steak and wine are not good enough anymore.

Lwerewolf said:

Guest said:

Nevermind the fact that this organisation has an insane amount of servers and bandwith requirements and whatnot just to keep running like it does. It's the 6th most popular site on the web, standing there in a league with the likes of:

-google (youtube, etc)

-facebook

-twitter

-amazon

-blogspot

-yahoo

-live.com (microsoft)

Do you know just HOW MUCH F***ING MORE they spend on running their stuff alone than Wikipedia?

Just as "bad", right... Hope you're just trolling.

That was in response to #14 btw, messed up the quote.

RH00D RH00D said:

All I'm saying is that if the next headline I read says Christopher Dodd dropped dead, I'm not losing any sleep.

Guest said:

we can surely do without Hollywood and the filth they're pumping out.

the "tech industry" is far more important.

ramonsterns said:

RH00D said:

All I'm saying is that if the next headline I read says Christopher Dodd dropped dead, I'm not losing any sleep.

Or MPAA disbanded due to illegal activities, like bribery.

Guest said:

You ever notice the only people worried about piracy are the ones making millions of dollars? The simple truth is this, piracy is a VERY good indicator of how good your product is. If you find your product on dozens of sites and pirated by hundreds of people then you have done a very good job and have already made a ton of money. Be happy your stuff gets pirated, no one pirates crap!!

Guest said:

How enyone could even suggest that public opinion would stand after Holliwood but not the technical community, this is a lost battle for Hollywood and they must show their respect to upcomming technologies, they also use a lot of technologies just to remind them, and when they use technologies for their movies they are fine with the tech community.

They whole thing will seriously reflect, in other words damage the Hollywood image and noone would that easily agree with them as they wish. Simply because everyone can do a lot of time without movies but noone could do even 5 min without internet. So better bend their tail and understand they went on the wrong way before they harmed their own industry for the public opinion and its reaction too much.

Guest said:

Why not Hollywood try to blackout thr content for a day to make a point, guess what, noone would give a damn.

Guest said:

and when Hollywood speaks of 'intellectual property', I'd like to remind them there is almost nothing intellectual in their property.

supportme said:

Guest said:

Why not Hollywood try to blackout thr content for a day to make a point, guess what, noone would give a damn.

+1+1+1+1

Guest said:

So wait... the guy says sites like Wikipedia "skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests" - isn't that in essence what MPAA & co do, skew facts about piracy and its effects - among other things - to further their corporate interests? *facepalm*

Poor Hollywood, as if they aren't rolling in enough money already. (Which is not to say I'm an advocate for piracy, I'm not - but these people seem to have lost all sense of scale.. and sense in general.)

Guest said:

The usual politician, especially former senator Dodd, using their force against the constitution.

Guest said:

This case is an interesting one; it shows the old business school of thought, using their usual methods of money, power and threats in attempt to control U.S. legislation so they can gain more money and power. Meanwhile the average citizen when using the strength of numbers and conviction can overcome the tyranny of corrupt power. This is exactly what the U.S. was founded on, rights for the individual and government for the people by the people. All this was done in a fair and legal way of protest, no need to hack a website or DDoS them, just speak up for your rights and contact your representatives.

ikesmasher said:

Its obvious the bill needs changing. If we just drop this one now, some one will come up with a MUCH revised one within the year/2years probably. We should just do that.,

MilwaukeeMike said:

This is really just about money. SOPA will force internet companies to build filters and methods to root out copyrighted material. that's expensive. Don't fall for the 'It's Freedom' line of BS.

I do appreciate the irony in liberal Hollywood getting their undies in a bundle over this. They sure do sound like greedy corporate conservatives now, don't they.

Guest said:

Absolutely right that it's an abuse of power. HOW DARE THEY let people know what's going on? Just one question, though. Why isn't it an abuse of power for MPAA to try to shut everyone up?

Guest said:

"Senator Dodd was merely making the obvious point that people support politicians whose views coincide with their own. When politicians take positions that people disagree with, those people tend not to support".

Its a good thing most people dont want SOPA then right? Ohhh ya silly me I almost forget its still about the money lying ****ing shits

Guest said:

Absolutely the very best Congress that money can buy !!!

Guest said:

Guys Hollywood is more then just movies....Its everything thats shown on TV as well. I understand ppls ire at Hollywood, but to be fair, they have a right to protect their jobs as well. Your average actor doesnt make near the money ppl think they do. There is agent fees,wardrobe, press agents,ect. Alot of the money an actor gets paid goes to other ppl who made that actor successful. That being said, how is Hollywood's push to protect their money/jobs any different from any of you attempting to keep your money/jobs? Yea the giant CEO's and so forth in the entertainment industry make tons of cash, but most everyone else doesnt. Ive seen Grips (guys who move sets ect.) get paid less then your average cabbie. Yes the MPAA may be pushing a bill that ppl dont agree with, but you have to look at their motivation. Wouldnt you want all the money you earned on a paycheck? How would you feel if even 1 slim dime was taken from you? Would you accept "Oh your paycheck was pirated so you only get 1/2 of it". Try and show a little empathy ppl.

Guest said:

The best Congress that money can buy !!!

:D :D :D

Guest said:

Dodd needs to step down now. "Abuse of power" indeed! As if all the DRM and DMCA and lawsuits over the years weren't abuse.

TJGeezer said:

ramonsterns said:

RH00D said:

All I'm saying is that if the next headline I read says Christopher Dodd dropped dead, I'm not losing any sleep.

Or MPAA disbanded due to illegal activities, like bribery.

Or RIAA executives jailed for extortion.

ramonsterns said:

It was nice knowing you, world. Hope we'll be able to talk after ACTA passes.

Guest said:

I'm tired of these rich people paying our representatives to remove our Constitutional protected rights.

The MPAA, RAIA, etc. need to be thrown in jail. Hell they have broken more laws than anyone posting a movie or video. They break into web sites, they threaten ISP's, they do all sorts of illegal things but never seem to go to jail over it. I wonder why? Could it be all the money lining our representatives pockets.

Copyright and patent law needs to be returned to the way our founding fathers set them up, these newer laws should have been judged as unconstitutional.

Movie and recording company's make billions and billions of dollars and with expenses dropping threw use of new internet based media and yet they want more, they sue people for painting a few cartoon characters at a day care center, they sue people for posting movies from the 50's, they sue kids for trading a mp3. they list goes one and on.

Guest said:

Well said, my friend!

Guest said:

@ #37 - honestly, do you think the additional income would go the the poor set mover or other such working person? No, it would only serve to further fatten the wallets of the execs and such. And THAT is why I have little sympathy for MPAA and other such retards.

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