The White House appears to mean what it said in March when it told supporters that it’s not ignoring the We the People petitions. As if to affirm that pledge, the Obama Administration restated in the 2011 Annual Report on Intellectual Property Enforcement released today that they still believe that the Protect IP Act and Stop Online Privacy Act introduced in 2011 aren’t such good ideas.
In a response to a We the People petition in January that targeted the PIPA and SOPA, the White House released a statement then saying that while they it was committed to fighting online privacy, it would not do so in such a way that compromised an “open and innovative internet.” A few days after the White House’s statement, online opposition to the bills culminated with a widespread internet protest on January 18th in which several popular sites, including Wikipedia, reddit, Mozilla, craigslist, et al., commenced with a 24-hour blackout of their sites. Subsequently, the effort was enough to turn the political tide against PIPA/SOPA and the bills were eventually shelved although continue to linger in the shadows of Congress.
In today’s report, the White House cautiously reiterated its support for bills that target online piracy yet it “will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk (including authority to tamper with the DNS system), or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet.” The statement continues to say that the Administration is open to the idea of working alongside Congress in order to make sure that these issues are “addressed in a manner that takes in account the challenges and opportunities of the Internet and that is consistent with the Administration’s goals and public policy principles.”
At this point, however, any further debate and talk about the inequity of PIPA and SOPA would appear to be moot since a day after the internet’s constituency drove back the bills, the federal government decided it didn’t need such legal implements in order to shut down websites. So really, the White House can say they oppose SOPA all they want – it doesn’t really mean anything anymore.
At any rate. Here’s the full Intellectual Property Enforcement report.