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vetting that caused them to be withdrawn; these threats also are not helpful to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