White House Will Not Support SOPA, PIPA
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« on: January 15, 2012, 09:36:48 pm »

Saturday marked a major victory for opponents of proposed anti-piracy legislation Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), which would target foreign-based websites violating U.S. copyrights.

House of Representatives bill SOPA and its Senate counterpart PIPA are designed to punish websites that make available, for example, free movies and music without the permission of the U.S. rights holders. Opponents of the bills, however, worry that the proposed laws would grant the Department of Justice too much regulatory power. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has called the measures "draconian." Other Internet giants who oppose the bill include Facebook, eBay, Mozilla, Twitter, and Huffington Post parent company AOL.

The White House on Saturday officially responded to two online petitions, "Stop the E-PARASITE Act" and "Veto the SOPA bill and any other future bills that threaten to diminish the free flow of information," urging the President to reject SOPA and PIPA.

The statement was drawn up by Victoria Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator at Office of Management and Budget, Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, and Howard Schmidt, Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator for National Security Staff. They made clear that the White House will not support legislation that disrupts the open standards of the Internet.

"While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet," the statement read in part.

The White House statement went on to say, however, that the Obama Administration believes "online piracy is a real problem that harms the American economy" and that 2012 should see the passage of narrower legislation that targets the source of foreign copyright infringement.

The letter also highlighted the following four points:

    Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. [...] We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet. [...] That is why the Administration calls on all sides to work together to pass sound legislation this year that provides prosecutors and rights holders new legal tools to combat online piracy originating beyond U.S. borders [...] We expect and encourage all private parties, including both content creators and Internet platform providers working together, to adopt voluntary measures and best practices to reduce online piracy.

This is not the end of the debate, the White House statement emphasized. "Moving forward, we will continue to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis on legislation that provides new tools needed in the global fight against piracy and counterfeiting, while vigorously defending an open Internet based on the values of free expression, privacy, security and innovation," the letter also read.

Following the release of the White House's statement, SOPA sponsor and House Judiciary Chairman (R-Texas) Lamar Smith issued a statement of his own.

“I welcome today’s announcement that the White House will support legislation to combat online piracy that protects free speech, the Internet and America’s intellectual property," Smith said, according to The Hill. "That’s precisely what the Stop Online Piracy Act does."

On Friday, CNET reported that Smith said he will remove from the bill one of the most hotly contested provisions, Domain Name System requirements. Previously, SOPA had called for DNS blocking of infringing websites.

On Thursday, PIPA author Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) said that "more study" was needed to asses the bill's DNS-blocking provision, the Wall Street Journal wrote.

The White House's statement condemned DNS blocking in regulatory efforts and said that it "pose a real risk to cybersecurity and yet leave contraband goods and services accessible online. We must avoid legislation that drives users to dangerous, unreliable DNS servers and puts next-generation security policies, such as the deployment of DNSSEC, at risk."

A House Oversight Committee hearing on SOPA's DNS-blocking provision had previously been scheduled for January 18. However, according to Tech Dirt, Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-California) said that the hearing will be postponed for the time being and that the focus now should be placed on the Senate's PIPA bill, which Senate Majority leader Harry Reid has committed to moving forward in the next two weeks.

UPDATE: The Motion Picture Association of America Inc. (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have each released a response to the White House's position on SOPA and PIPA.

Michael O’Leary, Senior Executive Vice President for Global Policy and External Affairs for the MPAA said the following in a statement emailed to the HuffPost:

    While we agree with the White House that protection against online piracy is vital, that protection must be meaningful to protect the people who have been and will continue to be victimized if legislation is not enacted. Meaningful legislation must include measured and reasonable remedies that include ad brokers, payment processors and search engines. They must be part of a solution that stops theft and protects American consumers. [...] On behalf of the 2.2 million Americans whose jobs depend on the film and television industries, we look forward to the Administration playing a constructive role in this process and working with us to pass legislation that will offer real protection for American jobs.

In the same email, Mitch Glazier, Senior Executive Vice President of the RIAA, said, "[L]egislation is of no benefit, nor will we support it, if it allows the leading Internet companies to direct law abiding consumers to unlawful and dangerous sites."

David Hirschmann, President and CEO of the Global Intellectual Property Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, reiterated the Chamber's strong support for both SOPA and PIPA. "The Administration's main concern, centered on DNS issues, has already been addressed by both Senator Leahy and Representative Smith. We also applaud Senator Reid, Senator Leahy, and Representative Smith for their commitment to move forward with pending legislation through an open and bipartisan process," Hirschmann said.
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2012, 03:30:04 pm »

From the bbc website:-

Wikipedia plans to take its English-language site offline on Wednesday as part of protests against proposed anti-piracy laws in the US. The user-generated news site Reddit and the blog Boing Boing have also said they will take part in the "blackout".

The sites' webmasters are opposed to the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (Pipa) being debated by Congress. However, Twitter has declined to take part in the shutdown. Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales, told the BBC: "Proponents of Sopa have characterised the opposition as being people who want to enable piracy or defend piracy.

"But that's not really the point. The point is the bill is so over broad and so badly written that it's going to impact all kinds of things that, you know, don't have anything to do with stopping piracy."
 
Sopa's supporters in the House of Representatives say the legislation is designed to stop revenue flowing to "rogue websites". A similar law, Pipa, is making its way through the US Senate. On Saturday the White House issued a statement that appeared to side with critics of the Acts.
It said: "While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet."

Despite the hint of a presidential veto, Wikipedia said that the English site's administrators had decided to stage its first ever public protest because the bills "would be devastating to the free and open web".

It added: "We don't think Sopa is going away, and Pipa is still quite active. Moreover, Sopa and Pipa are just indicators of a much broader problem. All around the world, we're seeing the development of legislation intended to fight online piracy, and regulate the internet in other ways, that hurt online freedoms."

However, when asked whether Twitter would join the blackout, its chief executive, Dick Costolo, tweeted: "Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish." In a Twitter conversation with Wikipedia's founder Jimmy Wales, Mr Costolo later clarified that his comment was not meant to be read as a "value judgement" about other organisations involvement in the action.

The anti-piracy legislation still has high profile supporters including News Corporation's chairman, Rupert Murdoch. Over the weekend he tweeted: "So Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery."

He later added: "Seems like universal anger with POTUS [President of the United States] from all sorts of normal supporters... Whole entertainment industry employs 2.2 million [on] average salary $65,000. Good jobs and expanding foreign earnings. Made in America, too!"

Sites taking part in the shutdown plan to go offline for 24 hours from midnight Eastern Standard Time (05:00 GMT) on Wednesday.





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"It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations."  -- Winston Churchill
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2012, 03:53:39 pm »

]"The anti-piracy legislation still has high profile supporters including News Corporation's chairman, Rupert Murdoch"

It's heartening to know that the man ultimately responsible for one of his 'newspapers' hacking into and deleting messages from the voicemail of a kidnapped and murdered child, thus giving the family false hope she was still alive, has suddenly found some moral ethics
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"It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations."  -- Winston Churchill
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2012, 07:21:21 pm »

Murdoch has publicly stated that he views people being able to read/view anything from his corporation without paying for it as theft. 
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2012, 05:05:41 am »

Today was the day of SOPA/PIPA protest, and apparently it DID have an effect.

13 Republican and 1 Democratic senator switched sides, and now oppose PIPA rather than support it. It now has only about 35 supporters in the Senate.

SOPA support in the House also dropped today. But it was already dead, as the president indicated he would veto SOPA if the bill passed Congress.
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