Motion Picture Association of America CEO “confident” similar legislation will become law
April 6, 2012
Motion Picture Association of America CEO and former Senator Chris Dodd has revealed perhaps more than he intended to in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter with regards to the much maligned Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
Despite the fact that the legislation was indefinitely shelved in January, Dodd said he was “confident” that there are conversations going on between Hollywood and Silicon Valley to help revive SOPA.
“Between now and sometime next year [after the presidential election], the two industries need to come to an understanding,” Dodd told the magazine.
When asked whether there are negotiations going on now, Dodd replied: “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.”
Clearly Dodd does not want a repeat of the widespread publicity and large scale protests that aided the defeat of the legislation at the beginning of the year.
Dodd said he believes higher ups who are “smart and highly respected in both communities”, such as eBay founder and movie producer Jeff Skoll, are working to forge a deal with government to bring back SOPA in a new form.
Dodd added that he believes president Obama is also keen to help revive the legislation.
“I’m confident he’s using his good relationships in both communities to do exactly what you and I have been talking about.” Dodd said.
“There are not a huge number of people who understand that content and technology absolutely need each other,” he added.
Following press coverage of Dodd’s comments, the MPAA on Friday issued a statement denying that there were any secret plans to resurrect SOPA.
“Sen Dodd did not say SOPA is coming back to life.” the statement reads. “He said the tech and entertainment industries need to come together to work on a new solution and those conversations are beginning. SOPA is gone. The path forward now is a serious conversation between all involved industries about new solutions, and that was Sen Dodd’s point.”
SOPA, and the Protecting IP Act (PIPA), the Senate version of the bill, caused a huge backlash when it became clear that they constituted part of a long running agenda to completely re-structure and centralize the internet under government control.
Had the bills become law, they would have provided the U.S. government, through the office of the Attorney General, the power to pursue court orders against any website believed to be engaging in or ‘facilitating’ extremely broadly defined ‘copyright infringement’.
The terminology in the legislation was so encompassing that entire web sites faced the threat of being effectively seized and shut down for merely displaying one ‘offending’ hyperlink.
The bills would also have forced compliance from search engines and Internet Service Providers, demanding they create a list of banned web sites and prevent their users from accessing the sites. Advertising networks, payment providers and credit card processors would also have been ordered to stop doing business with any site deemed to be acting unlawfully under SOPA.
As we have previously noted, however, SOPA was merely a legal cover for action the government is already carrying out. The Department of Homeland Security has already seized scores of web sites merely for linking to copyrighted material, despite the fact that such material isn’t even hosted on the web site itself.
As we reported yesterday, the attempted crackdown on the open internet has not subsided with the defeat of SOPA and PIPA. If anything it has substantially accelerated.