Chris Dodd is finally out of the Senate. His role in the financial meltdown that began in 2008 has been very well documented by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone. He wasn’t the only player, for sure. But if you wanted to find the one person in the government to criminalize for the crisis, surely Chris Dodd would be your man.
Unwilling to limit his damage just to government, Dodd has moved to the entertainment industry to force shutdown of websites under the guise of SOPA, Stop Online Piracy Act.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a United States bill introduced by U.S. RepresentativeLamar S. Smith (R-TX) to expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property andcounterfeit goods. Provisions include the requesting of court orders to bar advertising networks and payment facilities from conducting business with infringing websites, and search engines from linking to the websites, and court orders requiring Internet service providers to block access to the websites. The law would expand existing criminal laws to include unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content, imposing a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Proponents of the legislation state it will protect the intellectual-property market and corresponding industry, jobs and revenue, and is necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws, especially against foreign-owned and operated websites. Claiming flaws in present laws that do not cover foreign-owned and operated websites, and citing examples of “active promotion of rogue websites” by U.S. search engines, proponents assert stronger enforcement tools are needed.
Opponents state the proposed legislation threatens free speech and innovation, and enables law enforcement to block access to entire internet domains due to infringing content posted on a single blog or webpage.
Aaron Swartz led the activist opposition to this rather blanket authorization to shut down the free flow of information over the web rather than take due legal process. He identified Christ Dodd as the man behind the monied entertainment industry’s move to move through “webdom” and shut down any site it deemed threatening to its economic interests.
When monied interests need a front man, Chris Dodd has always been their man. There is no end of the damage he has done and continues to do.