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BSA, Microsoft Join SOPA Opposition

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Even an anti-piracy group opposes SOPA, the proposed US anti-piracy legislation

The Business Software Alliance, representing Intel, Adobe, Apple and Microsoft is the latest in a growing number of technology power players opposing the US SOPA anti-piracy legislation in its current form.

Although BSA was formed to oppose software theft, its president and CEO Robert Holleyman said in a blog post that valid and important questions had been raised about the bill, which he believes is too broad.

Don’t break the internet

Unlike other protesters, who wish to abolish the law altogether, or prevent other, similar laws from being passed by changing the constitution to protect internet access, Holleyman believes that the goals of the legislation can be achieved with the right approach and a fine touch.

“As it now stands, (the bill) could sweep in more than just truly egregious actors. To fix this problem, definitions of who can be the subject of legal actions and what remedies are imposed must be tightened and narrowed. Due process, free speech, and privacy are rights cannot be compromised. And the security of networks and communications is indispensable to a thriving Internet economy,” he said.

Alongside players like Google, Facebook and eBay, critics using official channels as well as the plethora of protest sites cropping up, the general public has made its views clear using #dontbreaktheinternet on Twitter, to share their views.

“Some observers have raised reasonable questions about whether certain SOPA provisions might have unintended consequences in these areas. BSA has long stood against filtering or monitoring the Internet. All of these concerns should be duly considered and addressed.

As James Allworth, blogger for the Harvard Business Review, explains: “(SOPA) contains provisions that will chill innovation. It contains provisions that will tinker with the fundamental fabric of the internet. It gives private corporations the power to censor. And best of all, it bypasses due legal process to do much of it.”

Dubbed the Act that could break the internet, global critisim for SOPA is mounting as it moves for markup on 15 December, when it will be debated by lawmakers.

Current supporters of the bill include the Motion Picture Association of America, pharmaceutical makers, media firms and the US Chamber of Commerce.