MPAA Chief Chris Dodd Offers Olive Branch to Tech Industry over SOPA

Chris Dodd Golden Globes NBC After Party - P 2012
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Chris Dodd Golden Globes NBC After Party - P 2012

“Despite what the media and the advocates on the extremes would have you believe, the content and technology communities are not adversaries,” the former U.S. senator writes in an online opinion piece.

Motion Picture Assn. of America CEO Chris Dodd is holding out an olive branch to Silicon Valley in the latest attempt to resolve the long-running contention over Internet piracy.

In an opinion piece posted on Politico Wednesday morning, the MPAA chief and former U.S. Senator drew on a Common Wealth Club of San Francisco panel discussion in which he participated earlier this week.

“No one wants to relive the polarizing debate we had last winter,” Dodd wrote, “over legislation (SOPA) that was meant to help curb online piracy. But intellectual property protection is important and needs to be discussed without heated rhetoric or raised voices. It’s important to the entertainment community, the tech community and the American economy — and to our audience. On the presidential campaign trail recently, we’ve seen both President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney recognize the importance of protecting America’s competitiveness by protecting our intellectual property.”

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As evidence of Hollywood’s and Silicon Valley’s common interests, Dodd pointed to the wide range of contractual agreements that already exist between the studios and online distribution companies. Hollywood, he wrote, already “is partnering with Silicon Valley and others — from YouTube to Facebook to Netflix to Roku — to deliver our great content to screens of all sizes. In fact, every one of the studios that I represent at the MPAA has a distribution deal with Google. ... There are currently more than 350 unique, licensed online services that provide motion picture content to viewers around the world, including more than 60 in the U.S. alone.”

Dodd insisted that “despite what the media and the advocates on the extremes would have you believe, the content and technology communities are not adversaries.” The former Connecticut senator pointed to Hollywood’s collaboration with the high tech sector to develop the UltraViolet delivery service as “an important reminder that our industries also share a common interest in protecting an Internet that works for everyone — and that means protecting intellectual property so that the Internet remains a place where creativity and innovation are rewarded, not stolen.”

The MPAA chief argued that “the tech community will be integral to helping solve this problem. It’s going to require cooperation and voluntary best practices from all interested parties. We saw some of that earlier this summer when Google altered its algorithm to de-emphasize pirated content. That was an important step because it recognizes the problem, and it recognizes Google’s ability to do something about it. It was not a silver bullet, and there’s much more to be done — but it was a good acknowledgment from Google that content theft is a problem and one that can be tackled.”