White House publishes opposition letter to SOPA & PROTECT IP
It seems someone in a legislative position of power is finally paying attention to all of the online protesting and letter writing with regards to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Over the weekend the White House released a statement condemning all legislation that “reduces freedom of expression.”
The letter, posted on the White House website, responds to a pair of online petitions aimed at stopping SOPA and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). The letter shows White House support for anti-piracy legislation in general but condemns some of the specifics that make these bills so problematic.
The letter is signed by three officials, Victoria Espinel, Aneesh Chopra, and Howard Schmidt who are specifically involved in budget, technology, and cybersecurity respectively.
“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 letter details that legislation like SOPA and PIPA must focus on foreign piracy sites and still allow for due process during prosecution. Additionally the letter condemns any legislation which stifles freedom of expression or start up companies (both on and off the Internet). The letter also details that the Domain Name System (DNS) should not be touched. Interestingly enough the DNS provision of SOPA has been tentatively removed from the bill because it was by far the most contentious section.
The White House is not the first to speak out against the bill but they are obviously the most powerful. In the past week many game companies have protested the bill saying that if enacted it would threaten their business. Websites like Reddit have decided to go dark on January 18, the day the House was originally scheduled to debate SOPA (that date is now being rumored to be pushed back).
It’s nice to see the White House respond to these online petitions and outcry about a very problematic set of bills. While the letter does not specifically threaten that the bills in their current form will be Vetoed if passed through the House and the Senate, it does make it very clear that these bills are not acceptable as written and need to be carefully considered moving forward.
6 Comments on White House publishes opposition letter to SOPA & PROTECT IP
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- Posted on: 16 Jan 12 17:53
Now we have to concentrate on stopping the Senate version, the "Protect" IP Act.
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