Chris Dodd's strange response to SOPA-PIPA protests

As chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), former Connecticut senator Chris Dodd is one of the most ardent supporters of SOPA-PIPA. And he doesn't like you protesters one bit.“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."Actually, Chris, the "stunts" you speak of are not meant to punish people. They are meant to give people a taste of what the Internet could look like if this awful legislation becomes law."It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and 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."An abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy? That's crazy talk. The reason these companies are protesting is because SOPA and PIPA puts their freedoms -- and that of the users -- in great danger. As written, it would allow corporations and government to go way over the line in the interests of anti-piracy. These sites don't want to be censored in the future. That's why they have embarked on what you foolishly call an abuse of power."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."Protests aren't meant to punish elected officials. The ability to protest is an essential right given to us under the Constitution. Without protests, Congress would push all kinds of sinister legislation through without anyone noticing. The founding fathers knew this, and while they certainly were far from perfect, they knew the people needed a Bill of Rights because of the political corruption that is inevitable in any society.As for protecting American jobs, you're thinking is backwards. A free and open Internet is essential to a strong economy in the 21st Century. The Internet is where the money is made. It's where the jobs are. The jobs of the future are in the path of this legislation."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.”You're suggesting that people trust the White House and Congress and would listen if either branch said "please don't do this." The people don't trust them. That's the point.The President signed a defense appropriations bill that gives the government more power to detain Americans indefinitely without explanation. Now Congress wants to give the government more power to censor the Internet. Many Americans see it as a one-two punch.When the government oversteps the barriers and decides liberty is worth sacrificing in the name of money and so-called safety, mass protests is what you get. When big entities like Wikipedia, reddit, Mozilla, and Twitpic choose to go dark for a day, you know the protests are not the work of crackpots.This is a serious security matter -- specifically, the security of our liberty. If a blackout is what it will take to wake up the masses and pressure Congress into backing down, so be it.

CSO contributing writer Taylor Armerding managed to get a statement from Dodd yesterday. I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, but after three reads I was left asking myself what just happened.

What follows is Dodd's statement, with my comments in italics:

Suggesting SOPA-PIPA opponents are trying to turn people into corporate pawns is very odd coming from you, considering all the money you've accepted from big corporations over the course of your long political career. Don't even get me started about all the money the MPAA gives to members of Congress to keep them in line with your agenda.

--Bill Brenner

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