IT Associations Take Sides with SOPA
The recent SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) initiative has polarized opinion among the IT industry and IT associations. Although its aim is “To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property…,” what many fear is that SOPA will turn into censorship and government or corporate control of the Internet.
Who Wants SOPA?
SOPA and its companion bill, PIPA (PROTECT IP Act), are being championed by the entertainment industry in particular, a generator of huge amounts of valuable electronic content.
A number of IT associations have publicly backed SOPA.
Who Wants… Something Else?
While they don’t deny that piracy of content is a huge problem, some organizations think that SOPA is the wrong solution to this problem.
SOPA would give the U.S. Justice Department the power to coerce ISPs and search engines into dropping suspect websites, also making these organizations responsible for rooting out offenders.
In extreme cases, a website could be banished because of an infringing blog post on that site.
IT Associations Allegiance and Backlash
Anti-SOPA Yahoo! left the pro-SOPA U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with Google also threatening to leave.
In a surprise move in December 2011, Kaspersky Lab, maker of anti-virus software, quit the Business Software Alliance because BSA supported SOPA, but Kaspersky did not.
What’s Next for SOPA?
There are large financial interests at stake for both sides in the SOPA/PIPA debate. Although drafting the bills was postponed in January 2012, the issue may well resurface as part of the U.S presidential election year “horse-trading.”
Was the position of your own IT association on SOPA compatible with your business interest? How would you like to see your trade group positioned on issues like SOPA? Share your opinion with us in the COMMENTS.
Creative Commons Image Source: flickr Ben Werdmuller