As the new Chairman and CEO of the MPAA, Chris Dodd improperly leveraged his friendship with Joe Biden to achieve the MPAA’s objectives. Former Senator Dodd’s relationship with the Vice President– who comes off manipulated, a cheerfully credulous facilitator – together with the Obama Administration’s ravenous hunger for campaign contributions, has given the MPAA absolute control over how the U.S. Department of Justice plays the game in enforcing copyright law,” they write.
Continuing on the corruption theme, Rothken and Amsterdam go on to describe MPAA’s influence in Washington as “State Capture.”
“The MPAA’s overt use of campaign contributions to sway the U.S. government into engaging in what amounts to unlawful action against Megaupload reflects a form of State Capture, a term coined by the World Bank to describe a brand of corruption characterized by the ability of a relatively small number of private interests to shape the official rules of the game through direct payments or other forms of financial influence.”
One cited example of how political funding was used to influence decisions was a January 2012 threat from the MPAA’s Chris Dodd. He stated that Hollywood would stop donating to politicians who fail to protect their interests.
“By threatening to revoke vital political and monetary support from the Administration at a crucial moment, the MPAA has exercised de facto control over key levers of executive power in Washington – law enforcement, prosecutors, trade negotiators – and is using those instruments of state power to further the financial interests of its members in Hollywood.”
The white paper further gives numerous examples of how Megaupload’s lawyers believe the authorities abused their power to further the interests of the copyright lobby. The overall conclusion is that people’s rights and freedoms are trumped to secure political donations, which are clear signs of contract prosecution.
“The U.S. government’s attack against Megaupload bears all the hallmarks of a contract prosecution: a case resting on erroneous theories of criminal law, littered with due process violations and prosecutorial abuses, carried out for the benefit of a select few in exchange for their political and financial support,” the lawyers write.
“In the name of eliminating copyright infringement, Hollywood has exerted a corrupting influence in Washington, leading us all down a slippery slope that not only threatens innovation and Internet freedom, but also has profound implications for constitutional principles of free speech, privacy and due process.”
Finally, the white paper suggests that this is not an isolated incident. It warns the public that these corrupt forces can quash anything that stands in the way of the private interests of those who make significant campaign contributions.