MPAA president threatening Congress

25 01 2012

Do you suppose it’s bad form to publicly try to blackmail members of Congress on national TV?  The president of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) — himself a former U.S. senator — did so this week.  He’s upset that SOPA and PIPA were rejected after the public backlash.  Here’s the story:

In an interview last week, MPAA President Chris Dodd, a former U.S. senator, threatened to cut off campaign donations to members of Congress who vote against legislation the MPAA supports.

After Congress shelved two controversial Web-censorship bills, Dodd told Fox News: “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.”

Free Press Action Fund President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:

“The MPAA is so brazen in its efforts to buy legislation with campaign cash that its leader, himself a former senator, sees nothing wrong with threatening legislators on national TV. We think it’s time that Congress showed that its votes are no longer for sale. The first thing Congress must do is give back the MPAA’s tainted campaign cash or give it to charity. Congress must make it clear to the world that it won’t be bullied into supporting censorship.

Being a former senator, Dodd should know about attempts of bribery and corruption.  Ideally there would be a huge public outcry over his statements, because isn’t it obvious he’s trying to buy votes?

A quick word on SOPA and PIPA, in case you haven’t followed them closely.  They were proposed legislation to stop online piracy, which sounds like a good thing.  We do need to cut back piracy.  Everyone is against piracy, against for the criminals who are stealing software, music, and movies.  But the proposed laws went way too far, making almost any service provider on the Internet liable to be prosecuted if someone puts anything illegal on their website.  The problem with that (besides the bankrupting litigation) is that all these sites would have to moderate every single thing posted on their site.  Imagine someone having to watch every single YouTube video before it could be listed, then checking if it could be copyrighted by someone else… it would be near-impossible.  Maybe someday software will be sophisticated enough to do that, but that’s many years away.

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