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The following is attributed to Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge:
“As support for the movie industry’s legislation has faded away over the past two days, the motion picture lobby has introduced an unfortunate tone into the discussions. Not only has the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) accused Web sites of abusing their freedom of speech by going dark of Internet Blackout Day to demonstrate opposition to misguided legislation, now it is threatening political figures.
“It has been reported in several outlets from the Los Angeles Times to Deadline to Fox News that MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd is threatening to cut off campaign funds from President Obama and perhaps others because of their opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).
“Threats like that are no way to conduct the serious, sober discussions needed to figure out exactly what ails the movie industry and to come up with solutions. It was Hollywood’s arrogance in pushing bills through Congress without proper vetting that caused them to be withdrawn; these threats also are not helpful to figuring out what ails the industry and how to solve their issues. As the Blackout Day showed, that type of thinking is how the old politics works.
“Public Knowledge welcomes constructive dialog with people from all affected sectors about issues surrounding copyright, the state of the movie industry and related concerns. Cybersecurity experts, Internet engineers, venture capitalists, artists, entrepreneurs, human rights advocates, law professors, consumers and public-interest organizations, among others should be included. They were shut out of the process for these bills.
“We suggest that in the meantime, if the MPAA is truly concerned about the jobs of truck drivers and others in the industry, then it can bring its overseas filming back to the U.S. and create more jobs. It could stop holding states hostage for millions of dollars in subsidies that strained state budgets can’t afford while pushing special-interest bills through state legislatures. While that happens, discussions could take place.”