Former Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), now the CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, the movie industy's lobbying group, believes that the hated national anti-online piracy legislation known as SOPA (The Stop Online Piracy Act) is being revived. As he told The Hollywood Reporter in a Q-and-A on Thursday:
THR: What is the status of the Stop Online Piracy Act? Is the legislation dead, or will there be compromise between Hollywood and Silicon Valley?
Dodd: I regret that Steve Jobs isn't around today. At least he understood the connection between content and technology. The fellow who started eBay, Jeff Skoll, gets it [Skoll is founder and chairman of the film company Participant Media]. There are not a huge number of people who understand that content and technology absolutely need each other, so I'm counting on the fact that there are people like Jeff and others who are smart and highly respected in both communities. Between now and sometime next year [after the presidential election], the two industries need to come to an understanding.
THR: Are there conversations going on now?
Dodd: I'm confident that's the case, but I'm not going to go into more detail because obviously if I do, it becomes counterproductive.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a House bill, was one half of Washington's attempt to pass anti-piracy legislation beginning in 2011. SOPA and its Senate counterpart, the PROTECT-IP Act (PIPA) were originally supported by a wide range of lawmakers from both parties and looked set to easily become law, until many Web users and large websites, including Reddit and Wikipedia, rose up in protest in January, effectively killing the bills.
Critics of the bills pointed out that the bills' language was overly broad and could result in the forced takedown of pages on Reddit, Wikipedia, YouTube and other popular social websites where users share links and files, some of which go to copyrighted material. Supporters, including Dodd and the MPAA, contend that the bills are necessary to fight online piracy and protect American jobs, though their claims have been repeatedly challenged and/or debunked.