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Chris Dodd: SOPA blackout an ‘abuse of power’

Former Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, currently chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, condemned the SOPA “Blackout Day” as a “gimmick” and an “abuse of power” by the Web companies participating in the protest against pending anti-piracy legislation.

Wikipedia, Google, Reddit, Craigslist and many other sites “blacked out,” or self-censored their services Wednesday, in protest to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).

While supporters of the legislation — including the MPAA, the Recording Industry Association of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — have argued that legislation is needed to tackle the problem of foreign “rogue sites” that peddle counterfeit products to Americans, opponents of the legislation argue that it would jeopardize free speech.

Dodd — who received special treatment from mortgage companies during the subprime mortgage meltdown, companies he condemned as “abusive” — issued a statement on the eve of Wednesday’s “blackout,” in which he said that the blackout day was a “dangerous” “gimmick” “designed to punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals.”

“It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services,” said Dodd.

“It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today,” said Dodd, “It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is scheduled to bring the Protect IP Act to the Senate floor on January 24.

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