In response to the Internet-wide blackout in protest of the gagging SOPA/PIPA bills, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) – a major backer of these bills – has issued a statement claiming that the sites that protested had made their users corporate pawns and abused their power to arm-twist the US Senate to reconsider what may be one of the most important bills for the country. Chairman and CEO of the MPAA, Senator Chris Dodd issued a statement which is on the official MPAA website. The statement is bereft of any real logic and is instead full of contorted facts that paint the MPAA as an honest and upright association that only serves the US citizens and not its own pockets.
Initially, I did not believe it. Actually, I still cannot believe it. I cannot believe that the CEO of the MPAA actually thinks that the general public can actually buy what he is saying:-
It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.
A so-called “blackout” is yet another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals. It is our hope that the White House and the Congress will call on those who intend to stage this “blackout” to stop the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy.”
How is a user-supported protest – like that on Reddit – and a community-driven protest – like that on Wikipedia – a “gimmick”? Perhaps it is time to go back to the boardroom and find out what exactly is the problem with a bill that is receiving so many negative reactions throughout the country as well as across the world. Maybe, just maybe, these bills are a gateway to the Land Without Free Speech Or Information.
Has the MPAA’s CEO and Chairman thought about that? I think not.