Tech Giants Back Off of SOPA SupportBy: Chris Richardson - November 22, 2011
Last week, a consortium consisting of Adobe, Apple, Dell, and Microsoft — to name a few of the well known members — offered their support of SOPA, under the guise of the Business Software Alliance (BSA). After companies like Google and Mozilla had spoken out against SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), it was surprising to see companies like Apple and Microsoft side with the government on this particular subject.
There are 29 members of the BSA, most of which are well known among those who follow the tech industry. Aside from the four indicated above, other companies include Intel, Symantec, McAfee, and Corel. However, the reason Apple and Microsoft are the focus is because they are two of the most well known companies in the world, and their initial support of SOPA was all the more dumbfounding. Apparently, however, the backlash against this support has caused the BSA to reconsider its position in relation to SOPA, which led to the following blog post, featuring the following title:
“SOPA Needs Work to Address Innovation Considerations”
Essentially, the BSA backtracked, saying the Alliance supports the elimination of piracy, but that SOPA needs to be refined. The post in question was written by BSA President & CEO, Robert Holleyman. In it, Holleyman offers the adjusted position of the BSA:
The idea behind SOPA, as Chairman Smith explained at last week’s hearing, is to remove pirates’ ability to profit from their theft. We think that is the right approach as long as it is done with a fine touch.
Valid and important questions have been raised about the bill. 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.
Which is exactly the position many who oppose SOPA. It’s not that they are asking for permission to pirate. Instead, policing these actions does not need to be done with sacrificing the freedoms Holleyman discussed. Too bad the entertainment industry is too blinded by their pursuit of the bottom line to see how much the bill, largely influenced by these entities, attacks the ideas of privacy and due process.
As long as that teenage girl down the street gets busted for downloading the new Twilight movie, all’s well. Unfortunately, SOPA doesn’t even work that way. Instead of going after the Twilight downloader, the bill goes after the site that hosted the torrent that facilitated the download.
The BSA post winds itself up with the following:
BSA has long stood against filtering or monitoring the Internet. All of these concerns should be duly considered and addressed.
My question is, did the BSA not know SOPA included such stipulations when they offered their support? Better late than never, I guess.