Originally published: January 21, 2012
Last updated: January 21, 2012 - 2:47pm
After a week in which their anti-piracy legislation got derailed by the full force of the Internet lobby, the mood in Hollywood was one of anger, frustration and a growing resignation that the entertainment industry will be forced to accept a much weaker law than originally envisioned. The developments were a setback for former Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT), who has made fighting online piracy his No. 1 priority since becoming head of the Motion Picture Association of America last March.
He was selected in part for his political savvy and 30-year experience in Congress. Dodd said that the industry would now seek a compromise version of the legislation. He acknowledged that Hollywood lost the public relations battle and blamed his Silicon Valley counterparts. "You've got an opponent who has the capacity to reach millions of people with a click of a mouse and there's no fact-checker. They can say whatever they want," he said. "We need to engage in a far better education process. People need to know … that 98% of people who work in the entertainment industry make $55,000 a year. They're not moguls and they're not walking red carpets." That message, however, has so far failed to resonate with the American public, which has shown more sympathy for the tech companies promoting the idea that the bills would hurt legitimate websites and stifle freedom of speech on the Web. Hollywood now must conduct PR damage control and convince tech-savvy Americans that it isn't the bad guy.