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A small victory in fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act

Nov 22, 20112 mins
Data and Information Security

It’s a small victory in the fight against a putrid piece of legislation that would destroy freedom of speech on the Internet.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), which initially supported SOPA, has come to its senses and decided the legislation crosses the line of decency.

In IDG News Service reporter Jennifer Baker’s article this morning, she includes the following comments from BSA president and CEO Robert Holleyman:

“Valid and important questions have been raised about the bill. It is intended to get at the worst of the worst offenders. As it now stands, however, it could sweep in more than just truly egregious actors. Due process, free speech, and privacy are rights that cannot be compromised. And the security of networks and communications is indispensable to a thriving Internet economy. Some observers have raised reasonable questions about whether certain SOPA provisions might have unintended consequences in these areas.”

As I wrote in this blog last week, the legislation (known as the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House) is a threat to liberty that must be stopped.

It would allow the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders to seek court orders requiring online advertising networks, payment processors and other organizations to stop payments to websites and Web-based services accused of copyright infringement.

It would lead to censorship of legitimate websites and protected free speech on sites that may contain some infringing content, and is an insulting slap against the U.S. Department of State’s push for Internet freedom across the globe.

Let’s give the Business Software Alliance credit for seeing the light. And let’s continue the fight against this madness.

–Bill Brenner

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