MPAA's Chris Dodd Will Be The Chair Of 'Free Speech Week'
from the stop-laughing dept
This seems a bit wacky. MPAA boss Chris Dodd has been named the chairperson of the "advisory council" for "free speech week" in 2013. Now, I'm assuming that most people have no clue what "Free Speech Week" is, but it's supposed to be a "celebration" promoting the First Amendment. That's why it strikes me as completely ridiculous that Dodd would be put in charge of it. While the MPAA was a major proponent of the First Amendment a few decades ago (back when there were efforts to try to censor movies -- which saw the MPAA stepping in to create a self-censorship regime known as the movie rating system), Chris Dodd's contribution to the MPAA has been to push SOPA, a bill whose main purpose was directly in contrast to the First Amendment and free speech by setting up a system for internet censorship. As Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe pointed out at the time:
The notice-and-termination procedure of Section 103(a) runs afoul of the “prior restraint” doctrine, because it delegates to a private party the power to suppress speech without prior notice and a judicial hearing. This provision of the bill would give complaining parties the power to stop online advertisers and credit card processors from doing business with a website, merely by filing a unilateral notice accusing the site of being “dedicated to theft of U.S. property” – even if no court has actually found any infringement. The immunity provisions in the bill create an overwhelming incentive for advertisers and payment processors to comply with such a request immediately upon receipt. The Supreme Court has made clear that “only a judicial determination in an adversary proceeding ensures the necessary sensitivity to freedom of expression [and] only a procedure requiring a judicial determination suffices to impose a valid final restraint.” Freedman v. Maryland, 380 U.S. 51, 58 (1965). “[P]rior restraints on speech and publication are the most serious and the least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights.” Nebraska Press Assn. v. Stuart, 427 U.S. 539, 559 (1976).It seems rather ironic that someone who was the main person behind a bill designed to take away free speech rights would then be put in charge of "free speech week."