Video: Top SOPA Lobbyist Chris Dodd, Now Trying To Censor The Internet, Once Championed Free Speech

Internet censorship lobbyist Chris Dodd, chief of the MPAA, shares a laugh with Rupert Murdoch's wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch

The Stop Online Piracy Act, a law making its way through Congress, would radically reshape the Internet. The bill, written with help from copyright lobbyists, would “empower the attorney general to create a blacklist of sites to be blocked by Internet service providers, search engines, payment providers and advertising networks, all without a court hearing or a trial.” The law, which is backed by the movie, music, and software industries, would also allow the government to censor websites simply linking to other websites that have been accused of illegally distributing copyrighted material. This means that if this law passes, political blog posts that I have written, which may have linked to copyrighted material or used a YouTube video that might have been unauthorized, could be taken off the web, despite its noncommercial nature. For the first time, the American government will have a duty to censor wide swaths of the Internet, hurting journalists, bloggers and the public alike. Moreover, the law would create an incredibly slippery slope for corporations and the government to squelch Internet speech on a massive level.

The top lobbyist pushing this monstrosity, Chris Dodd, is a former Democratic U.S. Senator from Connecticut. Dodd, now the chief of the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA), has taken a hard line while promoting SOPA. In a recent speech in Hollywood, Dodd absurdly compared the hosting of allegedly pirated content to the hosting of child pornography.

But just seven years ago, when Dodd still considered himself a public servant, he railed against attempts to intimidate journalists and suppress the media. Listen to the following floor speech from Dodd as he introduced his Free Speech Act of 2004:

CHRIS DODD: Our founding fathers recognized then that for a society to remain free, it must also allow divergent opinions to be expressed and for ideas to be openly exchanged. In many respects, the rights of free speech and the rights of a free press protect the government from trampling on the political and personal liberties all Americans hold so dear.

Watch it:

Dodd has his well-documented flaws. But how could a man, an overall decent man, go from championing free speech and media liberty above all else to pushing a reckless bill that mirrors the type of Internet censorship seen in places like China? Well, for one thing, Dodd went from making about $174,000 a year as a senator to making well over a million a year as a movie industry lobbyist. I don’t have the most recent disclosure for the MPAA, but the last one shows the guy previously in Dodd’s spot making over $1.3 million a year.

12 Comments

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12 responses to “Video: Top SOPA Lobbyist Chris Dodd, Now Trying To Censor The Internet, Once Championed Free Speech

  1. Saqib ALi

    Keep busting the crooks Lee.
    I had no idea about this bill or Dodd’s slimy role in pushing for it.

  2. KB

    I’m embarrassed that Dodd was on my short list of favorites in the 2008 presidential primaries. He wasn’t an obvious sellout like, for example, Evan Bayh. But they share at least one thing – both are children of senators.
    Maybe the lesson here is to be extra wary when politics is the family business.

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  4. Maybe he will just dye soon, I mean he looks old…
    just saying..

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