PIPA/SOPA Universally Renounced by Internet/Software Industries

November 23, 2011, By George Lang

Last week we told you about the full page denouncement in the New York Times taken out by Internet operators Google, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and more. This week, former supporters of the Protect IP Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) congressional legislation, collectively known as the Business Software Alliance (BSA), have “turned their backs” (Ramachandran) on the anti-piracy bills, citing possible misuse of enforcement powers. Members of the alliance include powerful software giants Microsoft, Apple, Intel, and Adobe.

The question is whether the momentum for the bills has gained enough steam to push them through congress without the support of these industry experts. No doubt, impetus has been considerably weakened by the alliance’s new stand; however, support for SOPA in particular had gained bi-partisan support in the legislature prior to this collaborative announcement.

The bills are still alive, albeit considerably damaged. Microsoft and NBC Universal partner MSNBC.com has reported the following in today’s Technolog Series:

[The] Business Software Alliance, which tackles piracy issues on a regular basis, agrees that “valid and important questions have been raised about the bill.” BSA president Robert Holleyman wrote on the group’s blog:

It is  intended to get at the worst of the worst offenders. As it now  stands,  however,  it could sweep in more than just truly egregious  actors. To  fix this problem,  definitions of who can be the subject of  legal  actions and what remedies are  imposed must be tightened and  narrowed.  Due process, free speech, and privacy  are rights cannot be  compromised.  And the security of networks and  communications is  indispensable to a  thriving Internet economy. Some observers  have  raised reasonable  questions about whether certain SOPA provisions might   have unintended  consequences in these areas. BSA has long stood  against  filtering or  monitoring the Internet. All of these concerns  should be duly considered   and addressed (Choney, MSNBC).

Following the recent moves by these Internet and software companies, the likely scenario takes congress back to the drawing board as recommended by our DeviceMAG article last week. Passing either of the bills would be a rash move on the part of congress and, in light of these recent expert technological opinions, would be equivalent to throwing caution to the wind.

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