(The Hosting News) – Debate on controversial online anti-piracy legislation has escalated within the past few dates with the White House clarifying its views on the issue Saturday.
The White House issued a joint statement from U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra, Presidential Assistant Howard Schmidt, and the Office of Management and Budget’s Victoria Espinel in response to petitions launched against the legislative measures.
Proposed legislation including SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) and the Protect IP ACT (PIPA) have been highly unpopular within the Internet community with critics arguing that the bills, if passed, could harm free speech and innovation on the web (The legislation is known as the Protect IP Act in the U.S. Senate and as the Stop Online Piracy Act in the U.S. House).
“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 White House stated regarding the controversial issue.
Specific concerns as listed by the White House included online censorship along with issues that could hurt cyber security and the Internet’s architecture.
The White House has vowed to work with the U.S. Congress to pass something that it sees as appropriately addressing the issue without have such negative effects. To view the White House’s statement, go here (whitehouse.gov).
Meanwhile, SOPA opponents scored a victory recently after a key U.S. Representative agreed that one of the bill’s most controversial measures should be removed on Friday.
The bill would have initially afforded the U.S. Justice Department the ability to require Internet Service Providers to block access to sites accused of infringement. However, it appears that provision will no longer be included.
Discussing the issue, U.S. Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas), head of the House Judiciary committee stated, “After consultation with industry groups across the country, I feel we should remove Domain Name System blocking from the Stop Online Piracy Act so that the Committee can further examine the issues surrounding this provision.”
“We will continue to look for ways to ensure that foreign websites cannot sell and distribute illegal content to U.S. consumers,” Smith continued in a statement.
While widespread opposition to both PIPA and SOPA seems to be having an effect, the bill still has its fair share of supporters, mostly including music and film executives in Hollywood. Just some of SOPA’s supporters include CBS, the Directors Guild of America, Major League Baseball, Random House, Sony Music Entertainment, Time Warner, Viacom and News Corp.
On Saturday, media mogul and News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch lashed out against both the White House and Google via his Twitter account concerning the issue (New Corp. is the powerful company owning popular media outlets including 20th Century Fox, the Fox Broadcasting Company and Fox News).
“So Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery,” stated Murdoch.
Murdoch continued, “Piracy leader is Google who streams movies free, sells advts around them. No wonder pouring millions into lobbying.” To try to prove his point, Murdoch said he searched for the movie Mission Impossible through the popular search giant and found “several sites offering free links.”
Despite calling the legislation “job saving,” U.S Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) agreed that there were legitimate concerns while discussing the legislation on Sunday’s Meet the Press with David Gregory (NBC). “We–this bill was reported out of the committee in May unanimously, Democrats and Republicans, and in recent weeks organizations like Google and Facebook and others have said, “Well, there are some problems this could create,” and I think they’re right, I think it could create some problems,” Reid said according to a transcript from the show. Reid said he would work with his fellow senators with the goal of creating a “manager’s amendment” to address concerns.
Official Congressional debate on the proposed legislation is expected to continue this month.