Liz Gannes

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Viacom’s Philippe Dauman Says “Mob Mentality” Doomed SOPA and PIPA

The “mob mentality” and “unfortunate rhetoric” around the protest of SOPA and PIPA earlier this month unnecessarily polarized the copyright debate between the technology and entertainment industries, said Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman, speaking today at D: Dive Into Media.

A stickler for detail, Dauman noted that while the House of Representatives’ Stop Online Piracy Act was a focal point of online protests, it was the Protect IP Act, the Senate version of the bill, which would have set the legislative precedent.

“I think the bill that would have emerged would have been very reasonable,” Dauman said.

“It became almost religious dogma that any legislation built around the process would have broken the Internet and created censorship around the world,” Dauman said.

Meanwhile, he argued, many technology companies supported a patent bill last year. “There should be a system where patent and copyright are both protected to make these two industries grow,” Dauman said.

Dauman — or “Philly D,” as Snooki apparently calls him — addressed a number of other topics in an onstage conversation with AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka.

Regarding the hefty payments sports networks get from cable and satellite companies, Dauman said he felt they were due for a reduction.

He said Viacom channels account for 20 percent of all viewing on subscription television, and a greater portion for young viewers. Dauman attested that, according to an unnamed distributor’s set-top box data, half of its audience never turns on sports-only channels, while half of its content costs come from sports.

“I do believe that premium content should command premium value, but there’s a fine line,” Dauman said.

We’ll hear more on that topic from ESPN’s John Skipper at the conference later today.

As for developing internal technology and acquiring tech companies, Dauman said, “We prefer to work with partners.”

“Everyone who’s developing a new form of distribution or technology stops by our office,” he said.

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