Chris Dodd has all the makings of an effective politician, if, for nothing else, his ability to talk out of both sides of his mouth. Take, for instance, his current stance on both SOPA and piracy.
In an interview with Variety.com, Dodd revealed an interesting, change-is-possible thinking when discussing the MPAA's approach to piracy. From his perspective, perhaps the MPAA's wording was to harsh. In fact, he suggested a different approach regarding the mindset concerning piracy by saying:
He said Saturday that the industry will need to take a far more nuanced approach to promoting future antipiracy legislation.
"We're going to have to be more subtle and consumer-oriented," he added. "We're on the wrong track if we describe this as thievery."
Now, does this mean Dodd doesn't view piracy as theft or is this simply a change in strategy in an attempt to woo support for future editions of SOPA? Judging by the "promoting future antipiracy legislation" portion, it suggests very clearly that the war on piracy is far from over, at least from the MPAA's perspective. It seems as if the change in the way the piracy is described is meant to suggest a softer stance towards file sharers, but it also rings as if he's suggesting a lighter approach--not calling content pirates thieves--will garner more support from the public, and, more importantly, the tech industry.
A quote concerning Google's stance on SOPA demonstrates this rather well:
But Internet companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter campaigned effectively against the legislation, mobilizing users on grounds that the new rules would impede the free flow of information on the Internet.
"Google chose wisely by making Hollywood the enemy," Dodd said ruefully.
Another thing that might help get the tech industry on board is craft future versions of SOPA in such a way that it doesn't potentially break the Internet.
That being said, the fact that Dodd suggests a change in the approach to piracy, while mentioning the role consumers play can be categorized as potential hope. The idea of embracing the Internet as a primary vehicle for content delivery, even first-run movies, is a step in the right direction. The Oatmeal's take on watching Game of Thrones perfectly demonstrates the position many consumers find themselves in before resorting to file sharing.
Who knows, maybe somebody forwarded that particular comic to Dodd's email and he got the message. But then again, maybe he's just trying a more subtle approach to generate support for future versions of SOPA, which remains very much on his mind:
"I can't say anything to [US Senators] about this for another seven months, but I think my colleagues understand how important this is," he said.
Just make sure you don't call piracy theft.