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Movie Studio Association Chief Blasts Proposed Web Blackout

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, January 17 2012

MPAA Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd. Photo: MPAA

Chris Dodd, the chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America on Tuesday blasted the planned online January 18 blackout by Reddit, Wikipedia and other online businesses. The action is meant to protest a couple of controversial anti-piracy and counterfeiting bills currently moving through Congress.

“Only days after the White House and chief sponsors of the legislation responded to the major concern expressed by opponents and then called for all parties to work cooperatively together, some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging," Dodd said in a press statement sent out on Tuesday.

He added:

"It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information 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.”

Dodd's sentiments echo those of the Recording Industry Association of America, whose spokesman Jonathan Lamy told POLITICO pretty much the same thing Tuesday.

Notably, Google, Facebook and Twitter, which all oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate in their current forms, won't be joining the blackouts, although Google (following the lead of Craigslist) plans on posting a message about its objections to the legislation on its U.S. homepage.

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