Speaking at the DLD conference in Munich this morning, Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales didn't mince words on the subject of former Senator and current MPAA chairman Chris Dodd. He said that Dodd should be fired.
Wales and Dodd have been arguing at opposing ends of the SOPA / PIPA battle, more generally the argument covers differences in opinion regarding how to deal with the perceived threat of online piracy. In response to SOPA and PIPA, Wales led the charge o protests by blacking out Wikipedia for 24 hours last Wednesday. SOPA and PIPA, two pieces of legislation that Dodd and the MPAA support, have been put on the backburner as the House and Senate have delayed action, respectively.
"10 million people contacted Congress," Wales said. “That’s not an abuse of power, that’s democracy. [Dodd] had best get used to it.”
According to comments made as part of Sundance's Cinema Cafe series, it looks like Dodd is softening his rhetoric when it comes to the internet protests that seem to have had such an impact on Congressional action on SOPA. From the Hollywood Reporter:
"It's a watershed event, what happened," Dodd admitted, noting that opponents' "ability to organize and communicate directly with consumers" was a game-changing phenomenon that he hadn't seen in more than three decades in public office.
Dodd seemed to have a sense of humor about the recent beating he's taken as spokesman for the mainstream entertainment industry, the kind of "chaos" that the former Senator had hoped to leave behind when he left office in January 2011. "Up until a week ago I thought that was a pretty good decision," he joked. But the message Dodd most seemed to want to get across was that "the white noise has
made it impossible to have a conversation about this," he said. "We've gotta find a better way to have that conversation than we have in the last two weeks."
In no way is Dodd backing off his support for legislation like SOPA, but at least he recognized the power of collective internet protest.
As you probably know, Dodd has been under fire recently for some comments he made on Fox News:
Candidly, those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake. …
I would caution people don’t make the assumption that because the quote ‘Hollywood community’ has been historically supportive of Democrats, which they have, don’t make the false assumptions this year that because we did it in years past, we will do it this year. These issues before us — this is the only issue that goes right to the heart of this industry.
The gist here is that Congress needs to remember who writes the checks, and need to fall in line with their interests. These comments are obviously teeming with hints of corruption, so much so that an online petition at the White House petition site had been started asking for an investigation of Dodd and the MPAA for bribery. The signature currently has 26,470 signatures and has hit its threshold to warrant a White House response.