The Hollywood Reporter has an interesting interview with the Motion Picture Association of America president Chris Dodd, who you may know better as the man who has served as both a Democratic Congressman and as a Senator from the great state of Connecticut. After having spent 36 years trapped inside the bubble that is Washington D.C., Dodd's first test were getting two bills fast-tracked through congress: SOPA and PIPA. Ultimately the movie industry ran into a slight roadblock called Internet activism.
In a fresh sit down with THR, Dodd says that even though SOPA was defeated, talks are still ongoing and the tech and entertainment industries will have to "come to an understanding" after the presidential elections are over in 2013. He also talks about the "R" rating for the anti-bullying documentary Bully and the Kim Dotcom case, among other things.
But the most interesting bits pertain to SOPA. First he avoids the topic of talks about revisiting SOPA in D.C.:
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.
When asked if felt blindsided by the President on SOPA, he said "I'm not going to revisit the events of last winter. I'll only say to you that I'm confident he's using his good relationships in both communities to do exactly what you and I have been talking about." Dodd then explained why improving Hollywood's image is so important to him and why he thinks that most Americans have the wrong impression of how the industry works:
"There's so much misunderstanding about this business. Before I started this job, I would have said it's about Oscar night, red carpets, movie stars and glamorous lives. But there are 2.2 million people who get up every morning and work in this business. I think it's unfortunate there isn't a deeper understanding of how important this industry is to this country."
You can read the entire interview on The Hollywood Reporter. We think that the MPAA is slightly confused about what really happened with SOPA and PIPA; Dodd seems to think the bills were stopped by technology companies motivating users to reach out and "touch" lawmakers. But the truth is that Internet users motivated technology companies to take a stand with them.