Game Over? The White House Speaks Out Against SOPA

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Internet piracy is a serious problem, but the White House now says SOPA simply goes too far.

“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,” leaders from the Obama Administration officially responded Saturday morning on whitehouse.gov.  “We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet.”

The message was signed by Victoria Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Aneesh Chopra, US Chief Technology Officer, and Howard Schmidt, Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator for National Security Staff.  These individuals have typically been pro-copyright and supportive of anti-piracy legislation, but the latest step-back suggests that adamant public protest against SOPA is having an impact.  “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.”

The Motion Picture Association of America quickly responded to the White House’s new stance. “Neither of these bills implicate free expression but focus solely on illegal conduct, which is not free speech,” the group stated.