With the mega-controversial Stop Online Piracy Act coming up for a vote later this month, organisations and people from around the world, alongside numerous gaming industry studios and publishers, have joined the fight to oppose the bill, which could turn the internet into a censored wasteland of lawsuits and blacklists.
The support to move against SOPA has been steadily growing, with numerous influential names tossing their hats into the ring, and now, it seems that the most important voice of all has finally spoken.
Yep, even the American Government thinks that the bill is a terrible idea.
White House officials, several of which are advisors to President Barack Obama himself, issued a statement on Saturday regarding the act, calling the heavy handed methods of combating piracy as a potential threat to the freedom of speech.
“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," said the officials, including White House cyber-security head Howard Schmidt. A few crucial snippets from the email read;
Across the globe, the openness of the Internet is increasingly central to innovation in business, government, and society and it must be protected.
To minimize this risk, new legislation must be narrowly targeted only at sites beyond the reach of current U.S. law, cover activity clearly prohibited under existing U.S. laws, and be effectively tailored, with strong due process and focused on criminal activity.
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 while staying true to the principles outlined above in this response.
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.
Now, while this doesn’t mean that the bill been soundly defeated and thrown into the sun, it does mean that when it goes up for voting in Congress, it will be a major blow to its progress.
Any attempt to lower the credibilty of the bill at this stage is a positive step, as the implementation of the act will do far more to damage and hurt the massive economy that the internet has evolved into, costing far more jobs for honest workers and organisations than the bill is pretending that it will save.
For the full email from the White house blog, regarding SOPA, head on over to their site. And don’t forget to sign a few petitions along the way, as this isn’t just an American issue right now, but an act that could have a devastating global impact if it ever is passed.
Last Updated: January 16, 2012