Former Senator and current MPAA chairman Chris Dodd has acknowledged that SOPA and its Senate counterpart PIPA have an image problem. Dodd says that the bills were largely considered a "slam dunk" before the protests that culminated in a massive site blackout on Wednesday. After the protests had built momentum, however, "this was a whole new different game all of a sudden," he said. While SOPA author Lamar Smith said last week that he was confident the bill would pass, Dodd now seems more interested in talking about the mistakes made than the chances of SOPA and PIPA succeeding.
Dodd blames the bills' reduced support on a slow timeline that allowed opposition to mobilize, but also on a strategy that ended up making the anti-piracy effort seem specifically about helping Hollywood. His own efforts were also limited by a law that prevents him from lobbying Congress directly within two years of leaving office.
Dodd mentioned rethinking the film industry's distant relationship with Silicon Valley, and said he would welcome a meeting between Internet companies and content providers in order to rework the bills. Unfortunately, there was no mention of his inflammatory comments before the blackout, including calling the Internet protests an "abuse of power" and accusing critics of punishing officials trying to fight "foreign criminals." Dodd may take a different tack in his next round of lobbying, but cutting out the alarmist rhetoric probably won't be part of it.