White House airs objections to SOPA, PIPA anti-piracy bills

By Lee Kaelin on January 16, 2012, 9:30 AM

The White House waded knee-deep into the ferociously debated anti-piracy legislation strongly supported by the Motion Picture Association of America on Saturday.

In what was considered a rather blunt statement by the Obama administration, White House officials said they would not support certain aspects of the two bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), both of which are widely accused of limiting freedom of speech online and would likely unfairly punish legitimate websites.

"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,"' they said in a statement from Victoria Espinel, intellectual property enforcement coordinator, Aneesh Chopra, U.S. chief technology officer and Howard Schmidt, cybersecurity coordinator for the national security staff, according to the Los Angeles Times.

This is a major setback for big Hollywood studios and their unions, who have unanimously been mounting an ever-increasing lobbying campaign in support of the proposed new bills. With good reason as well, as the new legislation would give the Justice Department more power to block foreign websites involved in the online piracy of movies and TV shows, which allegedly cost the industry billions of dollars a year in lost earnings.

That however, is not a view shared with Google, Facebook and other tech companies like Intel, Microsoft, Dell and Symantec. They all feel the proposed Acts raise valid concerns that need answers, with due process, free speech and privacy as fundamental rights that should never be compromised. They also fiercely oppose provisions that would allow the Justice Department to obtain court orders requiring search engines and online payment processors to block access to sites the courts deem as being involved in piracy.

"We appreciate the Administration's recognition that our ability to innovate, invest, and grow the economy is dependent upon keeping the Internet free and open,"' said Markham Erickson, executive director of the NetCoalition.com, a group of technology companies fighting the anti-piracy bills.

Both bills will likely be modified to reflect the concerns of the White House Administration ahead of the scheduled PIPA Senate hearing on January 24. The House Judiciary Committee was expected to vote on the SOPA bill later this month, but recently announced it will delay those plans "until a consensus can be reached".




User Comments: 19

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Lurker101 said:

Obama objected to various aspects of the NDAA, but that didn't stop him signing it into law.

ikesmasher said:

People pirate things because often they can't afford to spend that much money. those "billions" of dollars they lost, they aren't going to get much back of if a bill like this gets passed.

Guest said:

nothing will stop piracy, soon as 1 site goes down another 10 will replace it, it's like trying to stamp out drugs!......this is a corporate power thing, nothing more nothing less (world domination)

Guest said:

oh btw those millions of $'s lost, they arn't lost thats just a small amout of extra profit that wasn't made, due to bad ditribution and high cost, worlds in recession prices should reflect that

stewi0001 stewi0001 said:

I could care less about Hollywood. Hollywood steals and doesn't get in trouble, to my knowledge anyways.

Mindwraith said:

if something's not good enough for me to buy, I sure as hell won't buy it just because they stop piracy, i'll just live without it and they won't make any money of me anyway.

Guest said:

I find this all to be absurd. The simple fact of the matter is that Piracy cannot and should not be stopped. People do not realize that there are actually beneficial sides to piracy, for instance, promoting a product to your friends because you pirated it and thought it was great. Your friends will then spread the word to other people and those people will choose to either (A). Pirate the product too, or (B). If they are convinced it is well worth their hard earned cash via friendly promotions, they might decide to buy it. Either way, I am highly HIGHLY doubtful that online piracy is causing a loss of billions/millions/trillions whatever amount you want to say.

Guest said:

There is a lot of content out there and people are fed up of forking over good money every time technology changes and new media offers better sound or video quality in smaller packages. Seems the prices for new technology gets higher, even though production costs keep getting lower. Why? are the musicians making more money? Hell NO! The musicians are being exploited, just like the customers and the end of this media tyranny has come to an end.

OK so I have bought the same beatles music in vinyl, tape and DVD in the last 30 years. How many more physical formats must I keep purchasing over the next 30 years to keep listening to the same song? Enter MP3 and the cloud; the price of vinyl, CDs, tapes DVDs Blue Ray or any other goofy technological media companies can come up with are TOTALLY obsolete. Production and distribution costs have become NIL. Why should consumers pay more than they have to?

Much like the music industry, the movie industry needs to adapt to new business models. The world changes faster every day; competition and businesses must remain flexible to remain viable in the changing economies and quit gouging customers to make ginormous and obscene profits like yesteryear. Those days have come and gone until the next big industry comes along.

The media fat cats are lobbying for congress to protect their archaic ways of ripping off, I mean making money, to make matters worse, lobbbying for the government to support the erosion of American freedoms to support their business interests and inefficient business models. Psst , yo Hollywood, checkout how itunes makes lots of money and how the up and coming netflix and other online services are raking in the money and you may learn something.

treetops treetops said:

Lobbying is the cancer of America.

LarkBea said:

Lobbying is the cancer of America.

Agreed.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Lobbying is the cancer of America.

It reaches into international territory too. Check out this guy's blog (I'd link elsewhere if I knew of somewhere else covering it) talking about SOPA being a red herring and that ICANN is up to no good in plain sight.

Guest said:

I laugh at all these posts CLAIMING piracy is good. Try it sometime. Have your work or your fully fleshed out idea stolen from you and watch other ppl profit from it. All of you are standing around claiming "poor" or "media" issues. Its all a crock of BS to make yourself feel better about STEALING! Thats all it is. Straight out theft of goods or services. Of course you personally could care less that some multibillion dollar company is getting robbed of its profits, but if you were employed by that same company and lost your job because some pimply faced teenager decided to pirate, you would definatly feel different.

How would you feel if it was your parents or wife who got "Let Go" because of piracy?

Just because you CAN do something doesnt mean you should.

TJGeezer said:

Obama's "we won't support" is not "I will veto," so it has all the solid, reliable feel of thistledown in the breeze. Even "I will veto" would not be very convincing. He vowed, strongly and very publicly, to veto the NDAA, to cheers and wide publicity from people who noticed the bill stripped Americans of the right to due process. Then he snuck off to Hawaii over New Years and quietly signed it into law. Unless the Corporate Supremes suffer an unfocussed moment and forget they've handed power over to the corporations, Americans can no longer count on due process. If Obama or his administration actually oppose the relatively lesser constitutional insult of SOPA it would surprise the hell out of me. A salesman uncle once told me all you need to make money in America is a good line of bulls**t and a Buick Roadmaster. That's Obama, still out there pitching false hope wrapped up in whatever empty promises he thinks will sell his line.

Guest said:

These bills will not stop piracy. It will never be able to be contained or stopped. There's no sense in restricted the internet when it will only inhibit on freedoms and not resolve the problem. We have the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920's-30's as proof.

Guest said:

it doesn't matter money in the right place will get it passed

MilwaukeeMike said:

Guest said:

These bills will not stop piracy. It will never be able to be contained or stopped. There's no sense in restricted the internet when it will only inhibit on freedoms and not resolve the problem. We have the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920's-30's as proof.

Lol, classic hyperbole. Even China, with its govt firewalls blocking google searches and filtering out unvaforable sites isn't like Prohibition. It's so different, it's almost hard to explain.

MilwaukeeMike said:

TJGeezer said:

Obama's "we won't support" is not "I will veto," so it has all the solid, reliable feel of thistledown in the breeze. .

Take out your calendar, flip to Nov, and draw a circle around the 6th. THAT is why Obama won't sign this law. 'Getting into bed' with 'big business' in an election year for a democrat with something so controversial, that has so few supporters would be more damaging than cheating on his wife.

Guest said:

This is complete bull.... It seems like the Government is trying to get there hands into everything. People pay outrageous amounts of money already to get internet access, and that's just for HIGH SPEED BROADBAND Internet! To go to the movies you have to pay a ton of money just for popcorn, pop, and a movie ticket. Music cd's range from 10 to 20 bucks from each artist you want to buy from, but people love to make their own mix cd's and have only certain songs, but now that they have USB drives, DVD in-dash screens for mobile audio, I-POD connections, and soon Blu-ray in-dash screens which Panasonic already has made but not yet on the market, you can put all your music collection on a blu-ray disc and just pick what you want to play. Just people already like the internet the way it is, if you change it, it would no longer be the internet, it would be the "Governet" not the internet. If they would just take a certain amount out of the the ISP's AKA Internet Service Providers and give it to the MPAA and the Music Industry everyone would be happy, and this wouldn't be such a big problem. The Internet service providers are making 10 tons of money... if you take $10.00 from the Internet service providers out of each person that pays for internet access, and give 5 dollars to the MPAA (movie picture association of America) and 5 dollars to the music industry from every customer paying for internet access..in which The United States has over 67.7 million people subscribed to the top broadband providers, which account for 94% of the market.. the music industry and the MPAA would get $338,500,000 a piece! I think that's more than enough money and they wouldn't care who downloads what movie or what song or what friggin music album as long as they get a piece of the internet pie!

Guest said:

WOW. You must be really dense to think this is about stealing.

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