SOPA Internet bill: Newspapers and op-ed writers pile on
Last week, tech companies such as Google and Yahoo spoke out against SOPA and PIPA, two bills aimed at cracking down on online copyright infringement in a way that some call overbearing. Now, with newspapers running more pieces critical of the legislation, the opposition could intensify.
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The LA Times, the hometown paper of the MPAA, wrote an even sterner piece against SOPA the day before that, opining that it “goes … down the wrong path, weakening protections for companies — including those based in the United States — that enable users to store, publish or sell goods online.”Skip to next paragraph
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Of course, the press for SOPA and PIPA hasn’t been all bad. Last week, more than 300 companies, including NBC/Universal, Pfizer, and the NBA, signed a letter in support of the bills. And on Monday, Forbes published an op-ed by “tech capitalism” writer Scott Cleland which was generally supportive of the bills' aims and methods. Cleland predicted that “with fixes to ensure the legislation only targets rogue websites and does not create unintended problems by requiring actual website blocking or traffic filtering, support for online anti-piracy legislation is likely to strongly consolidate as the bills progress.” On the other hand, it’s worth pointing out that Forbes published a different op-ed piece later that day with the title, “How Congress and the Entertainment Industry Plan to Kill the Internet and How Citizens, Reddit Users, and a Few Senators Are Fighting Back.” Perhaps we could say that coverage has been mixed.
Pretty much everyone – including the aforementioned newspapers as well as tech titans such as Google and Yahoo – agrees that stopping online piracy is a noble motive. And everyone agrees that copyright infringement on the Internet is a huge problem for content creators (the Times reported in its editorial, for example, that more than 40 billion music files were illegally shared in 2008). But in spite of the bills’ popularity in Congress, all these groups have argued that infringement should be policed using less sweeping methods. SOPA and PIPA still have bipartisan support, but as they get closer to a vote – which could come before Congress breaks for the holidays – the bills’ opposition continues to gather steam.