Obama issues statement on SOPA

Administration says there's a need for new laws to fight online piracy but expresses concerns with legislation currently before Congress.

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After weeks of brewing controversy over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA), the Obama administration has broken its silence on the subject. In a statement released today, three administration officials stressed the need to fight online piracy in ways that wouldn't curtail freedom of expression, negatively impact cybersecurity, or stifle innovation.

Obama has heard the outcry over SOPA but stopped short of taking a stance on the legislation.

However, the administration said little about the specific pieces of legislation in question, choosing instead to simply outline its desire that new legislation be narrowly drafted and not open to abuse.

"Any provision covering Internet intermediaries, such as online advertising networks, payment processors, or search engines must be transparent and designed to prevent overly broad private rights of action that could encourage unjustified litigation that could discourage startup businesses and innovative firms from growing," according to the statement.

One issue the statement specifically addressed was DNS filtering, a practice by which SOPA would allow the government to block Americans' access to specific foreign sites suspected of engaging in piracy. However, that issue had become considerably less contentious in the preceding days. Yesterday, the bill's original sponsor, Rep. Chairman Lamar Smith (R, TX), said he planned to remove the DNS filtering provision from the law. On Thursday, PIPA sponsor Sen. Patrick Leahy (D, VT) said he would strip the DNS filtering language from his own legislation.

The statement also called on content companies and Internet platform providers to work together on new ways to fight online piracy without undermining freedoms. In a similar fashion, the Obama administration said it would continue working with Congress in a bipartisan effort to provide content creators with new legislative tools to achieve the same.

SOPA and PIPA have become a point of contention in the gaming world of late, with publishers and developers split in their support for the bills. Though the Entertainment Software Association officially endorses the legislation, a number of studios have come out against it, including Bungie, Epic Games, Riot Games, and Mojang.

Companies that support the bill--including the National Football League and GameSpot parent company CBS--argue that it offers necessary protection to content creators. Opponents of the bill, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argue that SOPA infringes upon First Amendment rights and will ultimately deprive the Internet of non-infringing content.

Discussion

342 comments
RavenXavier
RavenXavier

Obviously the companies that did support SOPA in it's original form all value greed and money over people's Rights. No, I don't mean the right to pirate stuff either, I'm talking about free speach and other First Amendment rights that the original drafting of SOPA would have killed. It makes me wonder though if any of these companies at all would have taken a stand against it if it wasn't for the ordinary people that stood against it first.

stewart8smith
stewart8smith

China?, Cuba? mmmmm no its America! DNS Filtering is curtailing peoples right to express themselves online however it may be. If it is illegal then contact the individual. Don't see them closing night club because they have drug dealers in them. :)

conkerton
conkerton

Face palm. When this passes due to negligence and sheepish yes men in the government I may look at resigning the phrase "I'm proud to be an American", because on that day I will no longer be free. Obama needs to stop being a coward socialist and just hurry up and end his term.

zequex
zequex

@ArabrockermanX Listen, I'm just trying to defend your country. I'm trying to support your "free" people and the almighty "democratic process" that your citizens preach from the rooftops. Your country will go to WAR to ENFORCE that government on others! I live in Canada so I also have a voice in who leads our country. If you are saying that from sea to shining sea, you people can't find ONE PERSON who would be a good president, then I just feel sorry for you.

toyo75
toyo75

All of this copyright paranoia and corporate greed is getting out of hand. Look at what's happening to YouTube now, it's insulting whenever I get a message that a video is blocked in my country due to copyright bullcrap. Once SOPA is made into law, internet users will experience more of this blocking and banning of videos, information and other stuff, not only in YouTube but also in other websites.

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

Wow Obama weighing in but not citing specifics or taking a stance? No way! Next thing you know, the sun is going to rise in the east!

ar6ra6sh9
ar6ra6sh9

obama or not, SOPA or whatever, they are in wong direction and will fell! they already felt!

Vodoo
Vodoo

These old, ultra-conservative politicians want to ban everything on the internet because they don't use it and don't understand it. And because they don't have a need or want for the internet, they don't care why anyone should. Just like the speed limit here in NY, there should be a law about no politicians over the age of 55. When people are older they don't care or get intimidated by technology and would rather things stay the way they were. Old people HATE change or anything new. Of course not everyone over 55 is a techno-phobe, but we can't pick and choose. So I feel that younger politicians would make for a better society of rules and regulations, especially in the digital age.

Lotus-Edge
Lotus-Edge

The simple fact is that there needs to be laws like these. Having said that, those laws should not be these. They're far too vague and overreaching to be safe. Even worse, the officials voting on these provisions and bills really have no idea what they're talking about, and should be educated before they do something monumentally stupid....

JOKER677
JOKER677

I think blood will be shed over this, fix the other problems in the country and worry about the internet later

renegade_magnum
renegade_magnum

@Sgthombre No, being in Congress just makes you blind to the Constitution and see dollar signs when big companies start shoving dollars into their hands to give them power. WHo cares about the rights of the people when you see $92 million being wagged in front of them, right? (according to an analysis of lobbying disclosure forms by Center for Responsive Politics, $92 million was spent on lobbying by television, film, and recording industry in 2011 ALONE). Damn politicians.

punkdsk8erdude
punkdsk8erdude

now that google is helping to petition the bills, i'm confident that they won't pass. i didn't know about google's petition until very recently & don't know how long they've been opposed to it, but I sure am glad they are.

Sgthombre
Sgthombre

I guess being in congress causes hearing loss and the inability to read, as these representatives apparently can't read the 3,000,000 plus signatures to the anti-SOPA petition or the rebukes of the bill from some of the largest companies involved with the internet, such as Google and Wikipedia.

GSuser10
GSuser10

I don't like either bill and I feel that the government is going a little too far on this. I get that they want to stop or control it but this is a bit much. They can find other ways and killing the internet is not the solution.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

It's highly reassuring to see there is actually a number of politians that GET IT. Sure there's a problem with piracy, but a far more measured response is required. SOPA/PIPA would be the internet's equivalent of a nuke.

reyace
reyace

Wait, god forbid if i say ANYTHING about the government on this public website, i might be taken away! lol

booo904
booo904

well they always said 2012 was the end of the world and now i know why the internets being taken away then machines will take over and chaos will be everywhere

ShadowOfKratos
ShadowOfKratos

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Drakkengoth
Drakkengoth

Take the internet away! I dare you members of congress. It will make us only more fed up with how you treat the people. People shouldn't fear their governments... governments should fear their people!

999realthings
999realthings

Citizens of America, please do not re-elect Lamar Smith and Patrick Leahy.

renegade_magnum
renegade_magnum

@Schwarte Yes, absolutely. However, it also means unfortunately for anyone in the US, that any such websites will be considered blacklisted by the Attorney General, and thus any sites that could possibly link to 'rogue foreign sites' would be taken down, ISP's operating in America would be required to block access to such sites. You must understand that the people behind this bill are large corporations who lobby for it, who know that by controlling the flow of information on the internet by essentially taking control of what can and cannot be seen, they hope to essentially obtain a stranglehold on their respective markets, all under the guise of "protecting US citizens from piracy", which, as you so poignantly pointed out, pirates can simply circumvent by hosting pirated content on non-US sites. In other words, they don't care if it hurts OTHER businesses, because the bill is ultimately to THEIR OWN financial advantage.

Schwarte
Schwarte

Maybe someone can clear something up for me, since I'm German and do not comprehend US law as well as I'd like to. If this bill passed, wouldn't a website (or rather the company hosting the website) be able to avoid most of it by relocating to somewhere outside the US? And if so, wouldn't that basically mean that the US economy would probably suffer from it in the long run?

so_hai
so_hai

@SaverofHumens Do you really believe that? Go up to a neo-con and call him/her a Social Democrat and see if they agree with you!

leeko_link
leeko_link

It's stupid and sad, looks like our free country is trying not to be free after all. Now we can't even surf the web freely w/o hearing a bunch of politics opening their big mouth.

renegade_magnum
renegade_magnum

@Gamelover77 I encourage you to read BOTH bills (SOPA and PIPA) in order to fully understand and make a better informed decision. As per your request, though, I will try to sum it up for you. 1. The bills simply mean that a corporation or copyright holder can complain to the government of ANY site of ACTUAL or POSSIBLE copyright infringement (NOTE: The site need not even ACTUALLY be hosting pirated stuff online, it only needs to be suspected of it or contributing to it even indirectly), and that site can be taken down W/O DUE PROCESS. A company can simply point, shout "COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT!" and any site could be taken down without any warning/due process. 2. It means that anyone who complains about copyright infringement CANNOT be held legally accountable for pursuing legal action against a site that was taken down under SOPA/PIPA. (Meaning if your site was wrongfully taken down, you cannot countersue the person/corporation that had you shut down) 3. The bill gives companies/IP holders CART BLANCHE as to exactly what constitutes copyright infringement (under the present wording of the bills, your present AVATAR could be considered copyright infringement and they'd have the power to have you change it) 4. Even if you were able to successfully defend yourself in court against allegations of copyright infringement, you'd still HAVE TO PAY YOUR OWN LEGAL FEES. Even when you win, you lose. Both bills go on about other things. I suggest you read both.

cryofax
cryofax

I care more about a free and open internet than I do about these sleazy corporations and their piracy issues. The problem is overinflated and an excuse to grab power and control. I oppose ALL laws that do this, including the DMCA, which should be repealed.

Verhoven
Verhoven

I seem to head read this plot line back in 2001, was this not in Metal Gear Solid 2? So who are the lalalilelo? The nameless corporate slugs in big business like those found in the entertainment industry (i.e. Hollywood)?

deltabtry
deltabtry

Stripping our freedoms one by one it seems. We the people need to put an end to this tyranny.

klgisme2
klgisme2

it's a pirates life for me yo ho

climhazzard5
climhazzard5

Sons Of The Patriots... its all been foretold.

redskinStu
redskinStu

Who's this Obama? He work for BioWare?

Gamelover77
Gamelover77

Am little confused. i have read this about 10 times and am wondering if someone can help me . 1. does this SOPA mean that everyone will be monitored online. 2. is this only effecting those who download from FREE websites that you should not download from. 3. if a person searches in google or yahoo will the search be sent to the government or something and then the internet information of the user is logged. or are they trying to say they have the right to mess up our chilling out time.

isshiah
isshiah

mass effects shepard needs to slap some sense into these guys.

so_hai
so_hai

Constitutional law is a very hard area to enact change. I don't see these laws getting legislated in their current form.

winshot
winshot

The world is starting to end already.... This is just a start....

renegade_magnum
renegade_magnum

To all who signed the petitions that were sent to the White House, I again thank you. Whether you support Obama or not, the fact is it was our combined efforts and ultimately the reaction of the White House to said efforts that finally put SOPA on hold. Fellow free thinkers, this isn't a complete victory. PIPA is still active. Parts of SOPA can still make its way into other pieces of proposed legislation in the future. What we require is eternal vigilance. We must always be ready to defend our right to free speech, whether we are American or not. To all free thinkers, continue to fight against these oppressive bills in all their forms. We've won one battle, but the war is not over.

jhcho2
jhcho2

@pogswarts So ensuring the citizen's safety is the gov's job, but taking care of their health isn't? And if the gov didn't step in to save the banks, it is the citizens who would take it in the as$. Many banks keep depositor's savings, while insurance companies insure citizens against financial calamity. It is the gov's job to ensure these companies do not gamble with their money, because if these companies go down under, it is the citizens who lose in the end. The CEOs and directors walk away rich. It's silly that the gov insures safety against crime and fire, but not financial welfare and health. And for the record, many other countries, even third world countries provide free healthcare. The country can definitely afford it, but the CEOs of health companies don't like it.

Lothos_Delion
Lothos_Delion

He can say one thing and do another. Lets see if he can uphold the rights of everyone and veto any crap like this in the future.

King-gamer
King-gamer

The thing is, if SOPA passes, that's the end of internet freedom. We have lost to the pirates. Why? think about it. You have to sacrifice your OWN freedom, just to fight something, that's going really far... And that still won't end piracy. Imagine this, there are terrorist among the citizens, hiding, just waiting for the right moment to do something. But the government can't find them!! What do they do? Well duh, they sign a bill that gives the military the right to detain anyone indefinitely, and without trial. Yes!! That has solved everything!! WRONG. It violates your rights, and when you have to sacrifice your own rights just to fight terrorists, that's going way too far. At least the government thinks so too right? Obama said he didn't like such a bill too right? Too bad, NDAA passed. Obama can say anything against SOPA, but it doesn't matter until the big decision where he actually have to sign it.

Benifited
Benifited

@SnakeEyesX80 i didnt know that mexicans where the only ppl that had soup. Or invented spanish for that matter

malfreds
malfreds

Too much weight against that law. And Im sure that, if for some reason this SOPA/PIPA goes through, the americans wont let it go. You guys always make the sound in your streets to stop such abominations. We the rest of the world will appreciate.

xMaverick0x
xMaverick0x

why do we have a democracy or liberty? when clearly.. obama and his team are creating a new China on the States! Morons the only way to counter attack piracy is reducing price! no one would go with piracy if 1) such stupid law like this, were being legislated 2) the prices wouldnt be so unacceptable to begin with

Henrique2324
Henrique2324

I have never seen so much s*** come out of one mouth.