MPAA Chairman Calls SOPA Blackouts a ‘Dangerous’ Gimmick

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Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

If you thought that today’s blackout by Wikipedia, Reddit, the Cheezburger Network and other sites was a legitimate political protest against SOPA and PIPA, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) chairman Chris Dodd would like to offer an alternative viewpoint, calling the blackouts “an abuse of power” as well as “dangerous and troubling.”

Dodd released a statement yesterday in which he portrayed the blackouts as a blow against attempts by those on both sides of the debate to find a co-operative solution. “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 parities to work cooperatively together, some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns,” he said, “rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging.”

(MORE: Check out Techland’s SOPA coverage)

The criticism that SOPA is being exploited by technology companies mirrors Rupert Murdoch’s Twitter rant this weekend, wherein he described the White House’s opposition to SOPA as President Obama “[throwing] in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery” before adding “Piracy leader is Google who streams movies free, sells advts around them. No wonder pouring millions into lobbying.”

Unsurprisingly, Google responded to the allegations by calling them “just nonsense,” adding that the company believed “like many other tech companies, that the best way to stop [pirates] is through targeted legislation that would require ad networks and payment processors – like ours – to cut off sites dedicated to piracy or counterfeiting.”

Elsewhere in his statement, Dodd — who has vigorously supported both SOPA and PIPA for some time — said that “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,” adding that “it’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms the serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.”

MORE: SOPA: Reddit Confirms Jan. 18 Blackout; Wikipedia, Others May Follow

Disclosure: Time Inc. parent company Time Warner supports SOPA legislation.

Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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