MPAA Boss Chris Dodd Talks About Sony Hack & Free Speech... Ignoring How It Revealed MPAA's Plan To Undermine Free Speech

from the wanna-run-that-one-by-me-again? dept

Variety has an amusing interview with former Senator and current MPAA boss Chris Dodd, in which he admits that he should have been "more vocal" in speaking out against the Sony Hack -- which he argues was "an attack on free speech."
“This happened to a member of our family,” said Dodd. “This was an attack on free speech and private property and as the head of the MPAA, I should have been more vocal.”
First of all, I'm not quite clear on how the Sony Hack was really an "attack on free speech" unless you really believe the point of the hack was to get Sony to not show The Interview (a storyline that only showed up well after the hack). But, considering that some of the only real news to come out of the hack was an elaborate mulit-pronged strategy by the MPAA to censor the internet by twisting various laws, that statement is kind of ridiculous.

But even more ridiculous was Dodd's followup, when asked about the Charlie Hebdo attacks:
“If you said to me, what’s the one thing that has been responsible for the 100 years of success of the American film industry, I’d point to one thing — it’s freedom of speech,” said Dodd. “We have always been a great advocate for freedom of expression and speech, and I don’t represent anybody who doesn’t embrace that value.”
Sure, freedom of speech for movies. But, on the internet? Not so much. The MPAA has been viciously attacking the internet at every chance, seeking any opportunity to build a filtered internet that blocks out sites and innovation that it doesn't like, or which challenge its legacy business model. The fact that the Sony Hack directly showed the MPAA itself plotting to censor the internet really makes this statement look absolutely ridiculous. It's the same "I strongly support freedom of speech... for the kind of speech I like" bullshit that we now see coming out of other places as well.

The thing is, I actually do believe that Chris Dodd strongly supports free speech and is against filters and censorship. Back when he was still a Senator and was trying to run for President, he actually gave a talk at Google and chastised the company for not standing up enough to those who sought to censor the internet. That speech is worth watching. In it, he tells Google to take a more principled stand against China's attempt to censor the internet with full site blocking or in requiring Google to block access to certain sites. As he said then:
Tell the Chinese government that Google.cn will no longer censor information with Google's consent. And should the Chinese government not find that acceptable, then Google.cn would shut down its operations. I understand that you've already moved all of your search records out of China, to prevent them from being turned over to the Chinese government. But what better way to affirm Google's commitment to the free flow of information as a human right, than to send this message to a nation with the largest population in the world?
And yet, now, his own MPAA is pushing Google to do exactly the same thing that China has done.

Oh, one other statement from that same speech that Dodd might want to remember:
One way we respond to change, in my view, is to stand up, and to stand up for our principles, which do not change.
If only that were true in his case, too.

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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 21 Jan 2015 @ 8:34am

    “If you said to me, what’s the one thing that has been responsible for the 100 years of success of the American film industry, I’d point to one thing — it’s freedom of speech,” said Dodd."

    [Irony-O-Meter at 300%, cooling system at highest capacity]

    “We have always been a great advocate for freedom of expression"

    [Irony-O-Meter at 450%, cooling system failing!]

    "and speech,"

    [Irony-O-Meter at 550%, cooling system failing, Prenda Buffers overflowing!]

    " and I don’t represent anybody who doesn’t embrace that value.”

    [BOOOOOM!]

    Dang it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2015 @ 8:41am

    like so many other ex politicians in the USA who have been given jobs outside of politics, it's done because of the political clout he still has! he hasn't got much in the way of brains and even less in scruples. he spouts shit every time he opens his mouth! he tries to make out he is in favor of free speech when it's the last thing on his list. unless of course, it's the entertainment industries view of free speech, you know the one that is totally in their favor with nothing for the customers or the people in general. if it wasn't for the crap he spouts, i wonder how he would actually survive in the free world? i bet it wouldn't be for very long!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), 21 Jan 2015 @ 8:50am

    Hollywood. Free speech. Hays Code. Enough said.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 21 Jan 2015 @ 9:23am

    Mock Dodd all you like, but he is standing by his principles. He feels he has the right to earn all kinds of bribes...err...money and the MPAA is giving him that. Its his right to spout lies all he wants, freedom of speah and all...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), 21 Jan 2015 @ 9:28am

    An unofficial MPAA's motto was always We are for free speech, but...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2015 @ 9:40am

    The entire political establishment in both the US and the EU is for sale. Mandatory disclosure of all campaign financing sources? Mandatory disclosure of personal financial interests for all elected officials? Mandatory disclosure of which politician is meeting with which lobbyist?
    Ask yourself why... Democracy in the West ironically died with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2015 @ 9:45am

    lol wut

    content, including pirated content is speech.

    Any plan that would effectively eliminate piracy would be capable of mass censorship because it must be able to block files of arbitrary content.

    So if the MPAA wins against piracy so too do China like regimes win against their own people because such tools wouldn't care about the difference between copyrighted goods and dissident speech

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2015 @ 12:58pm

      Re:

      "Championing" free speech while creating the very mechanism that would block it.........one is not like the other

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2015 @ 9:46am

    I read his statements in my head to the sounds of flatulence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wereisjessicahyde (profile), 21 Jan 2015 @ 10:27am

    Dodd stands-up for whatever he's paid to stand-up for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JP Jones (profile), 21 Jan 2015 @ 10:42am

    This makes sense to me, in a twisted sort of way. If your worldview sees content the industry produces and sells as speech then Chris Dodd's support makes sense. By "free speech" he means that they can continue to produce horrible movies, inflate their costs to extreme, incestuous levels in order to justify increasing the costs to the consumer, and keep it coming under the "free speech" moniker.

    "Piracy" (copyright infringement), again in this worldview, is illegitimate content; it's evidence of stolen goods. You can't have a "free speech" argument on stolen property, right? Therefore there's no mental conflict; movies can say whatever they want, but if the internet has to be locked down to prevent copyright infringement, that's no problem...they're just preventing mass theft.

    It's a worldview that unravels at the slightest logical thought, but it never needs to be taken that far. Spout bull**** long enough and loud enough and it will become the "truth" (citation: see organized religion).

    But if you look at the world with that lens this makes "sense." It's somewhat akin to wearing a blindfold at noon and proudly declaring that it's night, but hey, I guess that makes sense when you purposely ignore reality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2015 @ 10:59am

      Free expression in movies [was Re: ]

      If your worldview sees content the industry produces and sells as speech...

      There's some legal history here that people ought to remember.

      Burstyn v Wilson (1952)
       . . . As we view the case, we need consider only appellant's contention that the New York statute is an unconstitutional abridgment of free speech and a free press. In Mutual Film Corp. v. Industrial Comm'n (1915) a distributor of motion pictures sought to enjoin the enforcement of an Ohio statute which required the prior approval of a board of censors before any motion picture could be publicly exhibited in the state, and which directed the board to approve only such films as it adjudged to be "of a moral, educational or amusing and harmless character." . . 

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 21 Jan 2015 @ 11:03am

      Re:

      ""Piracy" (copyright infringement), again in this worldview, is illegitimate content; it's evidence of stolen goods. You can't have a "free speech" argument on stolen property, right?"

      I agree with this. The problem I have with the like of the MPAA is that what they are trying to do also restricts the legitimate noninfringing speech of others.

      What Dodd is actually saying is that Hollywood is a staunch defender of their free speech rights. He leaves unsaid the fact that Hollywood has long been antagonistic to everyone else's free speech rights.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 21 Jan 2015 @ 12:48pm

      Re:

      you could use common core as a valid example of if you say something long and loud enough it eventually is accepted by the sheep

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2015 @ 10:54am

    Chris Dodd has always been a hypocrite, so this is hardly a revelation. Despite being one of the most corrupt politicians in Washington, he never missed a chance to point a finger at others.

    Back in the years when Senator Chris Dodd was criticising Google for buckling to pressure to censor the internet, he was also publicly critising his fellow elected officials for becoming lobbyists, which was something Chris Dodd repeatedly vowed he would never do.

    That is, until he took a multi-million dollar job to became the head of the MPAA, one of the biggest lobbying organization in the country.

    Any Techdirt story about Chris Dodd needs to include a few links to remind people of this guy's utter sliminess, like this past Techdirt article that drew 342 comments:

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120120/14472117492/mpaa-directly-publicly-threatens-pol iticians-who-arent-corrupt-enough-to-stay-bought.shtml

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 21 Jan 2015 @ 12:31pm

    But, considering that some of the only real news to come out of the hack was an elaborate mulit-pronged strategy by the MPAA to censor the internet by twisting various laws, that statement is kind of ridiculous.

    While "mullet" (British derogatory slang for bonehead, among others) sounds apropos of many of Dodd's babblings, I suspect this was intended to be multi-pronged.

    I find it hard to believe anyone takes this idiot seriously, at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 21 Jan 2015 @ 12:43pm

    do what I say not what I do

    and the ever popular it's not a crime when we/I do it

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2015 @ 12:51pm

    and I don’t represent anybody who doesn’t embrace that value.”

    Buuuuuuuuuuullshit

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2015 @ 4:32pm

    What about the Sony employees who downloaded Adventure Time episodes? You going to bring charges against them, Dodd, or are CN Studios not part of your family?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jan 2015 @ 6:43pm

    Not sure if this is blatant lies from the Dodd or extreme cognitive dissonance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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