Disney Refused Invitation From Senator Feinstein To Meet With Tech Companies Over PIPA/SOPA

from the all-stakeholders? dept

We've been pointing out for months that the entertainment industry -- who more or less wrote SOPA & PIPA -- has done everything it can to deny both the tech industry and consumers any seat at the table. Many of us have asked to take part, or suggested that the backers of SOPA & PIPA open up the process -- as Senator Wyden and Rep. Issa did with their OPEN Act -- allowing the public to comment on it, suggest specific changes, and actually have a real debate on the bill, rather than handling it all in the back room. Multiple times, MPAA boss Chris Dodd has suggested that Hollywood is more than happy to sit down with folks in Silicon Valley to talk over the issues related to the bill -- though, when a bunch of us offered to do just that, somehow Dodd wasn't so welcoming.

Turns out he wasn't the only one. California Senator Dianne Feinstein -- despite coming a bit late to the game in recognizing the concerns of the tech industry -- has been trying to make up for lost time by trying to "broker a peace" between the North and the South. We'd been hearing some rumors that Feinstein had actually been trying to set up just such a meeting -- given her role covering both Silicon Valley and Hollywood -- but that Hollywood was blocking all attempts, and it appears that's now been confirmed by reporter Zach Carter:
After that story ran, Feinstein attempted to broker a compromise, calling both tech companies and film studios.

Walt Disney Co. President and CEO Bob Iger declined the invitation on behalf of content providers. "Hollywood did not feel that a meeting with Silicon Valley would be productive at this time," said a spokesperson. The meeting took place with only tech companies present. Feinstein, once a reliable vote for the existing version of Protect IP, is now working hard to amend the bill, according to Senate Democratic aides.
Basically, this claim of wanting a bill that works for everyone is all a facade that Hollywood puts up in order to pretend that it's open to input on these bills when it's clearly not. At all. Instead, as has been the case all along, the MPAA and the big Hollywood studios have arrogantly believed that they wrote the bill, they have the votes, so why should they waste time on petty little things like real discussions with real experts? When the actual opportunity -- at the behest of a US Senator no less -- to meet with the tech community came along, the Hollywood guys flat out ignored it and said they weren't interested. If that doesn't tell you everything you need to know about how the industry views this bill, it's time to start paying closer attention.

Filed Under: blackouts, dianne feinstein, pipa, protect ip, protests, sopa
Companies: disney


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  1. icon
    Scott (profile), 18 Jan 2012 @ 11:13am

    Senator Issakson's response

    "Thank you for contacting me regarding intellectual property theft. I appreciate hearing from you and I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

    S.968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act of 2011, was introduced by Senator Leahy (D-VT) on May 12, 2011, and was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. On May 26, 2011, it was reported out of Committee and is currently pending in the Senate. The bill targets websites, particularly those registered outside of the United States, which are "dedicated to infringing activities." These rogue websites typically offer unauthorized downloading or streaming of copyrighted content or the sale of counterfeit goods including music, movies, and pharmaceutical drugs.



    Websites targeted by this bill are foreign owned and outside the reach of U.S. laws despite the fact U.S. intellectual property is being infringed upon and U.S. consumers are the targets. Rogue websites cost American workers jobs and cost businesses millions of dollars in lost revenue. As online technology and commerce advances, we must see to it that injured parties have the ability to stop infringers from profiting from counterfeit products. For example, a victim of infringement will have the authority to file a civil action against the owner or registrant of a rogue site. If an order is granted by the court, third parties will be required to stop processing payments from the infringing sites, therefore, preventing infringers from collecting payments. I will work to ensure that our laws our modernized to protect intellectual property, and will keep your thoughts on this bill in mind should it come before the Senate for a vote."

    I cant tell if he supports it or not

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