Chris Dodd Suggests Backroom Negotiations On New SOPA Are Well Underway

from the not-dead-yet dept

Update: The MPAA has now attempted to backtrack on these comments.

Ah, Chris Dodd. It seems like every time he opens his mouth, he makes things worse. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, he responds to a series of questions about SOPA by trying to tiptoe around the issue, but basically admits that there are backroom conversations going on between a small number of people, and that “between now and sometime next year,” Hollywood and the tech industry will “come to an understanding.” He’s asked specifically if there are conversations going on now, and if the White House is pressuring folks to come to such “an understanding.”

THR: Are there conversations going on now?

Dodd: 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.

THR: Did you feel personally blindsided by Obama over SOPA?

Dodd: I’m not going to revisit the events of last winter. I’ll only say to you that I’m confident he’s using his good relationships in both communities to do exactly what you and I have been talking about.

Yes, you know why it would be “counterproductive” to go into more detail? Because he knows damn well that the problem with SOPA was that it was negotiated in the backrooms with private parties and no participation from the actual stakeholders: the public.

So, yes, admitting that you’re doing the same thing all over again would be counterproductive. You know what would be productive? Stopping this political backroom dealing crap, and finally coming out and having a public discussion. But he won’t do it, because Dodd is a coward and a DC-insider who only knows how to cut deals, not how to actually respond to the public’s best interests.

Later in the interview he trots out a nearly identical line to the one he’s been using recently, about how he only just discovered that the movie industry wasn’t just about red carpets and movie stars.

There’s so much misunderstanding about this business. Before I started this job, I would have said it’s about Oscar night, red carpets, movie stars and glamorous lives. But there are 2.2 million people who get up every morning and work in this business. I think it’s unfortunate there isn’t a deeper understanding of how important this industry is to this country.

Not only does this sound ridiculous (and call into question why someone so clueless about the industry was given the top lobbying job for the industry), but it’s entirely false. 2.2 million people do not “get up every morning and work in this business.” As has been detailed many times, the actual number is less than 400,000 (and that’s from the Congressional Research Service), and the number of jobs for people who actually make movies is growing. The only real decrease has been in those who work at theaters — and that’s due to consolidation.

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Comments on “Chris Dodd Suggests Backroom Negotiations On New SOPA Are Well Underway”

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83 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Actually, there’s little point in discussing this with your Representative. It will be a private agreement between industry partners consistent with US law- just like six strikes. At least with SOPA there was a judicial process. Now an infringing rogue site can plead its case before an industry panel. Thanks for playing!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

No it is about the democratic values being eroded by unscrupulous monopolists, it is about freedom being threatened by real social parasites that can’t compete in an open market a true capitalistic market.

It is about everybody having to pay multiple times for the same shit and even have their taxes used to enforce absurd laws against themselves.

Planespotter (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

To a degree you are correct, it is just entertainment, an industry that doesn’t contribute as much as say.. the tech industry towards a nations GDP… so why does this little industry have so much sway over Government laws? Why does this little insignificant industry get to say how our rights can be eroded?

Try to Think Ahead, People says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I think it’s interesting that no one has looked at the tech companies in all of this. Google, Facebook–these companies have just as much vested in NOT allowing SOPA to go through.

Listen, I like getting my movies for free. But is it sustainable in the long run? No. It’s not fair that the arts get the shaft in this and everyone thinks the big tech dogs are like the heros or something. When in fact, there’s tons of proof that Facebook and Google work with governmental organizations to disperse our data, etc. Maybe it’s time we all think for ourselves. Instead of jumping on the anti-SOPA bandwagon because Google and Wiki say it’s ‘cool.’

I’m sure many can agree that there is *something* to be said about intellectual property, yes? I mean, if I write a book, I’d like to make money. Not have people download because they’re entitled and think everything in the world ought to be ‘free’ now because of the Internet.

We really need to start thinking about sustainability with business models as we venture further into the digital realm. Please tell me there are other people who recognize this!

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“Listen, I like getting my movies for free.”

Nice of you to admit it. Now, can you explain why your lack of self-control and moral values justifies my freedom of speech being destroyed and new businesses being crippled to support legacy businesses?

“Instead of jumping on the anti-SOPA bandwagon because Google and Wiki say it’s ‘cool.'”

Stop drinking kool aid. If you do, you might be able to hear the actual objections rather than the FUD and lies being spread by pro-SOPA supporters. They have nothing to do with those companies.

“I mean, if I write a book, I’d like to make money.”

Nothing is stopping you. However, if your book is rubbish, you fail to offer it in a way and at a price that people are willing to pay money for, don’t turn round and whine about piracy when you fail. Other authors are facing the same level of “piracy”, and still making a mint. Ask yourself why.

“We really need to start thinking about sustainability with business models as we venture further into the digital realm.”

Agreed. SOPA and its ilk are not the solution, just business models that address the reality of the marketplace.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Oh, I agree, it’s entertainment. It is entirely unimportant stuff. So, again, why are people being driven to bankrupcy and the big fat cats are trying even to send them to jail for entertainment? It’s not like people are taking other people’s food or water isn’t it?

Exactly. It’s fine that it’s entertainment, and that in some opinions is worthless. It’s not fine to ruin people’s lives (not owning a computer is no defense!) because of it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

” Now an infringing rogue site can plead its case before an industry panel. Thanks for playing!!”

I’m sure that will work out really well for small legitimate competing companies that can’t afford teams of lawyers.

I’m glad the concentration of power and decision making into a small group white wealthy elite business owners is a game to you.

wvhillbilly (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Why did SOPA need to die? Because it’s the cyber equivalent of burning the barn down to get rid of a few rats. 1 you lose the use of the barn and 2 the rats just go somewhere else and set up shop in some other barn.

Isn’t that reason enough right there for killing SOPA? There are other and much better ways of dealing with rats than burning down your barn (a cat is very effective in this area) and there are other and better ways to stop infringement than opening the door for massive and capricious censorship of the Internet (like stop treating all your prospective customers like they are criminals, adapt to the times and make the content people want available to them in the manner they want it).

SOPA is a bill that opens the door for massive abuse. This makes it easy for someone who wants to shut down a competitor or rival or someone he/she has ideological disagreements with just to file a false claim of infringement, or for government to shut down any web site it doesn’t like or agree with. This bill opens the door for massive censoring of Internet content for all the wrong reasons, just like Russia censored all the news media back in the Stalin days. No due process, no recourse, you’re locked out just because somebody doesn’t like you? Is that what you want? Or do you want to do it to somebody you don’t like?

Didja ever think about licensing file sharing, for a reasonable monthly fee? Making a way for people to do it legally? Or is that too big for you to wrap your little itty bitty brain around?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Everyone who disagrees with me is a filthy scumbag, I believe this so I don’t have to actually consider their arguments and evaluate the proposed actions of the people I agree with who are also morally superior to everyone who opposes them”

FTFY, life must be wonderful

Modplan (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You seriously make no sense. If someone doesn’t want SOPA or SOPA style rules to be made, what about it is any different if it passes as legislation or as a back room deal? If people don’t want it, then they’re going to fight it regardless. Why is simply letting it pass congress without a fight any more sensible than having it brought via back room deals?

If you’re going to talk about more influence over the process, well that’s exactly what happened. People asserted what they wanted their representatives to do, and they got it. The fact that the MPAA/RIAA go even further into corruption to make such deals over something as unimportant as entertainment (as you stated yourself) just shows how messed up their priorities are. It’s OK for them to corrupt the political process, but not for the public to tell the representatives they vote for what they want.

gorehound (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Either we take the Cancer called Washington out or we Vote in a New Party.
Democrats & Republicans will turn this Nation into the Real 1984 very quickly now.
Chris Dodd is a scumbag.
I do not have any faith in Washington at all.They will do what their Money Masters want them to or they will Control you or they will do both of the above.
We are screwed !

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You need to go back and see who paid his SOPA trip to Washington and paid for his “access” to the politicos… then you will know.

I paid my own way out of my own pocket (hell, I didn’t even expense it back to Floor64). And no one “paid for my access.” We organized a series of meetings, some of which were set up by people in DC, because they were in DC and it was easier for them to do so — and some of which we set up ourselves by contacting the offices directly and saying we were bringing a bunch of entrepreneurs to town.

Why must you lie all the time?

Anonymous Coward says:

so why doesn’t anyone ever get him to answer in public exactly where the 2.2 million entertainment industry jobs actually are? then get him to explain why it is that the only decrease in employment in the entertainment industries is in the movie theaters? put him on the spot!

perhaps someone can also explain why it is that there seems to be a constant stream of interviews from people like Dodd, who always sing the praises of the entertainment industries, copyright and why it must be there and actually much stronger, but never any interviews of people stating the exact opposite? who is really scared here? the entertainment industries, the execs, the reporters or those that are against copyright?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Because he doesn’t know, silly, he said it right there in the article. 😉

Chris Dodd will say anything twice for 1.5 million dollars a year. He is a paid shill after all.

MPAA: Say this, Chris – bark! bark, bark bark 2.2 million bark!

DODD: Oh yes, bark! bark bark red carpet 2 million evening gown I’ll never be a paid lobbyist dear voters oh look I’m a paid lobbyist now bark!

MPAA: Worth every penny!

Anonymous Coward says:

I suspect the “deal” will follow the 6 strikes your out (non) negotiations. I don’t recall that ever making it to congress either.

EFF has a good article: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/04/graduate-response-program-lets-press-reset-button-backroom-deal

“Wrong. An advisory board is just that: a group of advisors, not decisionmakers. No matter how you slice it, subscribers don’t have a seat at the table now any more than they did in the earlier negotiations.”

Organizations like EFF and Public Knowledge are basically lobbying in our behalf.

Overcast (profile) says:

Government will obviously do what they want – and just keep routing around the PR mess.

But then – so will the pirates, they’ll simply find other ways around the laws and the monitoring.

Loose/loose situation for both sides. Lawsuits and Laws won’t fix this problem as it exists in the free market and is mostly based on perceptions of the cost of media.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

I’m really confused.
Out entire country is in the toilet, but we focus on the factually lacking complaints of 1 industry.
Didn’t we almost shut the Government down a couple times because Congresscritters wanted to prove who had the bigger balls?

The fact this lobbyist had publicly stated he pays for the laws he wants, and now is talking about secret backroom “negotiations”, during the administration of “Transparency”, means its time we actually demand better from our elected officials.

I think it should be fair to declare that the MPAA is buying influence, and as such we should be demanding investigations into every congresscritter that meets with them and support their bills. It is painfully obvious they are misleading people, and paying them to ignore the facts of the case. Gleeful willful ignorance of the internet, technology, and the impact of their decisions should be called up as reasons they are unfit to serve.

We spent so much time worried about “terrorists”, while we invite lobbyists intent on spreading terror and making people bend to their will. They aren’t using bombs, but money to get their way. The “Terrorists” wanted to forever change our way of life, they did just that. The MPAA wants to change our way of life, to suit their desires.

They lie, cheat, steal, and buy elected officials support. That happens in 3rd World Dictatorships, we spend much lip service decrying but when it is happening here its perfectly ok.

Screw all of the party platform planks, our elected leaders are being bought on a daily basis and THIS should be more important than if your offended that someone had an abortion. The “American Way of Life” ™ is being subverted on a basic level, and people are more concerned if Santorum can actually ban all porn to save us.

Nothing the MPAA produces is actually needed for life to continue. And its high time we use their own PR against them.
Everytime you buy a movie ticket your supporting the Government reading your email.
Everytime you buy a song on iTunes your supporting the Government checking your Facebook.
Everytime you buy a bluray, your giving money to those who buy your elected leaders vote.
Everytime you stream a movie on Netflix, your giving money to those who want the internet shut off.
Everytime you spend any money on a movie, your giving Chris Dodd more money to buy special rights for corporations.

Unlike their PR, we can show the proof behind these statements.

Anonymous Coward says:

But he won’t do it, because Dodd is a coward and a DC-insider who only knows how to cut deals, not how to actually respond to the public’s best interests.

Chris Dodd works for the MPAA. He is paid to look after their best interests. Most people work for the best interests of those who they’re paid by.

sporkula a sad earthling says:

It is rather sad that this kind of crap needs to continue. What I am more concerned about is the point when this protesting actually finally fails.

Will it be another american revolution complete with the massacure of millions of lives? Then followed up with an invasion by our worse enemies taking over the putrid mess that will be left and have nothing left of “the american way” not that there is much of that now to be honest.

Or will we simply perish as people; becomming nothing more than breathing vegtables? Waiting and enjoying being harvested by the vultures of the smallest percent of our country.

This is a really sad time in our history. I hope people wake up and realize that we need freash blood in our government. I am not talking about just a president or just a congressman. I am talking about the whole thing. So much corruption exists in the places that where supposed to be an UNpaid civil service and an honor to help the country as a whole. To make the changes necessary to make life better for the masses and step aside to allow the next group to continue that tradition.

May whatever god we each believe have mercy on us for the upcomming years will literally be a living hell for us, our children, and our children’s children.

Heber R. Cantrell says:

Remove the destroyers of freedom

It is unfortunate that people like Chris Dodd and organizations in this country make every and any effort to destroy the freedoms we enjoy here. Its obvious that they are only interested in their selfish intrests and greed. If possible a movement should be made for and by the good people of this country to rid themselves of this carion once and for all

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