Viacom Chair Admits Defeat on SOPA: Suggests Opponents Are an Irrational "Mob"

On January 31st, 2012 Viacom CEO Phillippe Dauman (introduced by reality-TV star Snooki as "Philly D" in a pretaped segment) told SOPA opponents that they were irrational - even while acknowledging that the opponents of the Viacom-supported "anti-piracy" legislation had won... for now.

In a post to The Wrap, Lucas Shaw quotes Viacom chairman Dauman's acknowledgement at a Media Conference that Hollywood will probably not push for new "anti-piracy" legislation this year: “I am hoping something gets done this year, but I’m a pragmatist.”

Chairman Dauman went on to describe opponents of SOPA and PIPA (the big movie studio's "anti-piracy" bills) as having a “mob mentality” with arguments that amounted to “almost religious dogma.”

The "mob" that Chairman Dauman was speaking about included some (scruffy?) free speech and open-internet activists - but SOPA was defeated in large part because a large number of internet inventors and engineers as well as established online corporate leaders (including American Express Company, Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, Amazon, etc.) had expressed concerns about the unintended consequences of the new law.

Chairman Dauman's post-SOPA comments on "piracy" - while perhaps intended to keep a dialogue going - only served to show just how polarized the argument has become. For example, Chairman Dauman said: “[The SOPA and PIPA bills] should have been discussed rationally,” leaving the clear implication that the scientists and corporate opponents to SOPA and PIPA were irrational.

How much thoughtful dialogue will result when the CEO of the company with over 20 percent of all viewing on subscription television (and an even greater share of New World viewers with brands like MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike, Comedy Central, etc.) depicts many of his customers, the founders of the internet and the largest internet search and services companies as part of an irrational "mob?"

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