The White House has responded to two of their online petitions and they released a statement.
VETO the SOPA bill and any other future bills that threaten to diminish the free flow of information
Stop the E-PARASITE Act.
I'll post the entire statement below the fold.
Official White House Response to Stop the E-PARASITE Act. and 1 other petition
Combating Online Piracy while Protecting an Open and Innovative Internet
By Victoria Espinel, Aneesh Chopra, and Howard Schmidt
Thanks for taking the time to sign this petition. Both your words and actions illustrate the importance of maintaining an open and democratic Internet.
Right now, Congress is debating a few pieces of legislation concerning the very real issue of online piracy, including the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and the Online Protection and Digital ENforcement Act (OPEN). We want to take this opportunity to tell you what the Administration will support—and what we will not support. 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.
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.
Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. Across the globe, the openness of the Internet is increasingly central to innovation in business, government, and society and it must be protected. To minimize this risk, new legislation must be narrowly targeted only at sites beyond the reach of current U.S. law, cover activity clearly prohibited under existing U.S. laws, and be effectively tailored, with strong due process and focused on criminal activity. 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.
We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet. Proposed laws must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System (DNS), a foundation of Internet security. Our analysis of the DNS filtering provisions in some proposed legislation suggests that they pose a real risk to cybersecurity and yet leave contraband goods and services accessible online. We must avoid legislation that drives users to dangerous, unreliable DNS servers and puts next-generation security policies, such as the deployment of DNSSEC, at risk.
Let us be clear—online piracy is a real problem that harms the American economy, and threatens jobs for significant numbers of middle class workers and hurts some of our nation's most creative and innovative companies and entrepreneurs. It harms everyone from struggling artists to production crews, and from startup social media companies to large movie studios. While we are strongly committed to the vigorous enforcement of intellectual property rights, existing tools are not strong enough to root out the worst online pirates beyond our borders. That is why the Administration calls on all sides to work together to pass sound legislation this year that provides prosecutors and rights holders new legal tools to combat online piracy originating beyond U.S. borders while staying true to the principles outlined above in this response. We should never let criminals hide behind a hollow embrace of legitimate American values.
This is not just a matter for legislation. We expect and encourage all private parties, including both content creators and Internet platform providers working together, to adopt voluntary measures and best practices to reduce online piracy.
So, rather than just look at how legislation can be stopped, ask yourself: Where do we go from here? Don’t limit your opinion to what’s the wrong thing to do, ask yourself what’s right. Already, many of members of Congress are asking for public input around the issue. We are paying close attention to those opportunities, as well as to public input to the Administration. The organizer of this petition and a random sample of the signers will be invited to a conference call to discuss this issue further with Administration officials and soon after that, we will host an online event to get more input and answer your questions. Details on that will follow in the coming days.
Washington needs to hear your best ideas about how to clamp down on rogue websites and other criminals who make money off the creative efforts of American artists and rights holders. We should all be committed to working with all interested constituencies to develop new legal tools to protect global intellectual property rights without jeopardizing the openness of the Internet. Our hope is that you will bring enthusiasm and know-how to this important challenge.
Moving forward, we will continue to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis on legislation that provides new tools needed in the global fight against piracy and counterfeiting, while vigorously defending an open Internet based on the values of free expression, privacy, security and innovation. Again, thank you for taking the time to participate in this important process. We hope you’ll continue to be part of it.
Victoria Espinel is Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator at Office of Management and Budget
Aneesh Chopra is the U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President and Associate Director for Technology at the Office of Science and Technology Policy
Howard Schmidt is Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator for National Security Staff
They mentioned the OPEN Act, which doesn't get much coverage anywhere including here. Representative Darrell Issa and Senator Ron Wyden have been collaborating on the OPEN Act which is an alternative to SOPA and PIPA.
OPEN: Online Protection & ENforcement of Digital Trade Act
The OPEN Act secures two fundamental principles. First, Americans have a right to benefit from what they've created. And second, Americans have a right to an open internet. Our duty is to protect these rights. That's why congressional Republicans and Democrats came together to write the OPEN Act. But it's only a start. We need your help: sign up, comment and collaborate to build a better bill.
Issa’s bill is called the OPEN Act, or the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (the acronym comes from fudging a bit – picking up the first two letters of “enforcement” and ignoring everything that follows). Where SOPA aims to empower the Justice Department to go after websites that allegedly infringe on copyright, and doing it on the Internet’s domain name layer, OPEN goes another route: strictly limiting the bill to foreign sites, setting up the International Trade Commission as the enforcer, and focusing on a “follow the money” approach, as in using digital payment systems as the choke points on targeted sites, a mechanism that has worked to thwart the WikiLeaks movement. On cue, the Motion Picture Association of America, a major SOPA backer, dismissed OPEN as “go[ing] easy on Internet piracy.”
At this point, it may make you cringe when you read "WikiLeaks." Let's get something straight here: The Pirate Bay is not WikiLeaks. As far as I am concerned, I wouldn't have any problem if governments take down pirating outlets like The Pirate Bay and others because I stopped file sharing years ago. Even while I was doing that, I didn't download much and the vast majority of that content was foreign-based products that were yet to be released and distributed in the United States. When the distributors finally started streaming through legitimate companies like Hulu and Netflix, a middle-ground was reached. We now have the option of watching content online with commercials (Hulu) or we can pay a monthly fee (Netflix). I think that everyone wins in the end when a middle-ground is established.
That being said, if SOPA's biggest critics want to make a difference, then they should delete all of their pirated material. I'm serious. This is not to say that I'm advocating buying into their copyrighted products because most of the music, movies, and television today is garbage anyway. If people want to boycott these products, I'd say go ahead, but delete the pirated material anyway. I'd suggest that we start finding more meaningful uses of our time instead of wasting away at commercialized trash. In my case, I've gotten into board games because they are an egalitarian form of spending time with friends and the best board games are made by small, independent companies. Also, if you stopped buying music, I would suggest that you invest some of your money in buying music from independent artists through iTunes or something else. I am actually very serious when I suggest that we should all collaborate on deleting pirated material because it would send a resounding message to the SOPA lobbyists: sometimes we don't need to have a one-sided governmental approach to deal with problems that you can't solve due to your lack of creativity.
As President Reagan once said, "Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem." He wasn't talking specifically about protecting copyright materials when he made that statement, but I think that Americans from any political persuasion can agree that SOPA and PIPA are not real solutions to existing problems. At least OPEN is an alternative that we should consider supporting. Perhaps if the SOPA critics, both within and outside the government, can work together then we might have a fully functioning law that was not simply written by lobbyists.
I'll finish with a comment that I wrote on another SOPA diary.
This is a good lesson in politics. (11+ / 0-)
People rag on politicians for supporting something crazy or from taking money from shady sources. People are right to do that and I do it too. However, the SOPA and PIPA fights are something different. They are framed outside of "right and left" and we find strange bedfellows. In SOPA, we find Representatives Issa, Pelosi, and Paul opposing it. Moreover, we find ourselves agreeing with bloggers from Reddit and Redstate (of all places) on how ridiculous this legislation is. We are finding that some issues resonate beyond right and left.
The real trick that we have to learn this year is how to make this happen with other issues like indefinite detentions, the war in Afghanistan, corporate campaign contributions, etc.