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MPAA: America Should Learn From China In Censoring The Internet

Posted by: , 18:51 AEDT, Sat December 10, 2011

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MPAA's boss wants the US and web companies to learn from China when it comes to censoring the Internet, and also compared movie downloads to bank robbery (saying Google is the getaway driver, in this twisted analogy)

The MPAA has hit back at a newly proposed, bi-partisan copyright law that would take most of the sting out of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and has also suggested that the United States has much to learn from China when it comes to censoring the Internet.

SOPA alternative bill was introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), which called on the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to intervene in foreign copyright matters, and will rely on existing trade laws to do so, without introducing new laws that could threaten the openness of the Internet.

However, the MPAA, one of the chief backers of SOPA, and possibly helped to write the bill itself, criticised the new alternative as being "easy on online piracy and counterfeiting".

Michael O’Leary, senior EVP for global policy and external affairs for MPAA, went on to add that "By changing the venue from our federal courts to the U.S. International Trade Commission, it places copyright holders at a disadvantage and allows companies profiting from online piracy to advocate for foreign rogue websites against rightful American copyright holders."

Adding fuel to the anti-SOPA fire, MPAA CEO Chris Dodd sensationally claimed that the US should do what China does, when it comes to censoring the Internet. Attacking Google's hesitancy in helping the US government filter web search results to help rightsholders, Dodd said Google can and should do it because "When the Chinese told Google that they had to block sites or they couldn't do [business] in their country, they managed to figure out how to block sites." 

And Dodd also compared download movies online to armed bank robbery. At an interview at the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers conference, Dodd used this analogy: "A guy that drives the getaway car didn't rob the bank necessarily, but they got you to the bank and they got you out of it, so they are accessories in my view."

In Dodd's analogy, Google is the getaway driver, and hence, an accessory to the crime. Critics would argue that, at best, Google represents the car, not the driver, and an extension of the above analogy would mean that the car manufacturer would be liable for any crimes committed in the cars that it produces.


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