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MPAA's Chris Dodd: equating file sharing with thievery puts us 'on the wrong track'

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The MPAA's Chris Dodd has said that his organization must amend its approach to become more "subtle and consumer-oriented" if it wants to see action on anti-piracy initiatives.

Chris Dodd
Chris Dodd

Chris Dodd, the former US Senator and current head of the MPAA, is all too aware of how his agency is perceived by outsiders. In a recent interview with Variety magazine, Dodd said that his agency needed to take a more "subtle and consumer-oriented" approach to future anti-piracy legislation in order to avoid the backlash seen with the Stop Online Piracy Act and its counterpart PIPA. "Google chose wisely by making Hollywood the enemy" in SOPA, Dodd said, adding that the dominant image of his business was that of the extravagant red carpet.

More surprisingly, though, Dodd also seems to be backing away from one of the central tenets of anti-piracy efforts: that distributing or downloading copyrighted material is directly equivalent to theft. "We're on the wrong track if we describe this as thievery," he said. Since the best-known MPAA ad campaign begins with "you wouldn't steal a car," hearing Dodd downplay this is unusual, especially after his rather heated comments on SOPA, in which he said critics were punishing officials who fought "foreign criminals." The limit on Dodd's lobbying efforts (imposed because he was a former member of Congress) expires early next year, so we'll likely be seeing his new approach in action quite soon.