MPAA Chairman Senator Chris Dodd Calls SOPA Blackouts 'Dangerous Gimmicks'
Published: January 18, 2012 - 8:42am
The Motion Picture Association of America, one of the SOPA bill's staunchest supporters, has issued an official statement regarding today's blackout protests being performed by Google, Wikipedia and other major sites.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) -- as well as the similar Protect IP Act (PIPA) bill -- is facing fierce opposition across the Internet as it makes its way through Congress. The bill, which allows for the federal government to investigate, block or disable any website visible in the US, has been called an infringement of American civil liberties, and has been publicly condemned by sites such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, eBay, Wikipedia, and Reddit. Supporters of SOPA include major arms of the film, music, and gaming industry, who say that drastic measures must be taken to protect copyrights from illegal pirating on the web.
In an effort to show the negative impact SOPA would have on the internet community, major information portals such as Google, Wikipedia, WordPress, TwitPic, Cheezburger, BoingBoing and Reddit have "blacked out" their sites for today, January 18th. This protest is a way to make those who, up until now, have been unaware of the battle between Congress and the people regarding this bill.
Several entertainment conglomerates (including Sony) who were originally categorized as pro-SOPA have removed their support from the bill because of recent public admonishment, threats and loss of business. That's not the case for the Motion Picture Association of America -- the organization who rates films released in the United States -- who issued this statement regarding today's blackout protests:
WASHINGTON —The following is a statement by Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) on the so-called “Blackout Day” protesting anti-piracy legislation:
“Only days after the White House and chief sponsors of the legislation responded to the major concern expressed by opponents and then called for all parties to work cooperatively together, 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 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 who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals. It is our hope that the White House and the Congress will call on those who intend to stage this “blackout” to stop the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy.”