White House Questions SOPA, PIPA

The White House has finally responded to a petition submitted by citizens expressing everything from concern to outright opposition to both SOPA and PIPA. Today the official web site for the White House has a rather lengthy post on these bills. The short story is that it seems like good news for those who oppose these bills in their current forms. From the Whitehouse.gov site:

"Thanks for taking the time to sign this petition. Both your words and actions illustrate the importance of maintaining an open and democratic Internet.

Right now, Congress is debating a few pieces of legislation concerning the very real issue of online piracy, including the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the PROTECT IP Act, and the Online Protection and Digital ENforcement Act (OPEN). We want to take this opportunity to tell you what the Administration will support—and what we will not support. Any effective legislation should reflect a wide range of stakeholders, including everyone from content creators to the engineers that build and maintain the infrastructure of the Internet.

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."

Below we have posted what the administration has highlighted in its response to the petitions. These highlights are important because they explain what the administration's position is on these bills in great detail:

 

  • 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.
  • We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet.
  • 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 should never let criminals hide behind a hollow embrace of legitimate American values.
  • 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.

 

The response was written by Victoria Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator at Office of Management and Budget; Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President and Associate Director for Technology at the Office of Science and Technology Policy; and Howard Schmidt, Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator for National Security Staff.

Read the entire thing here.

Image Source: Whitehouse.gov

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