Microsoft's Cold Feet Over SOPA Behind BSA's 'Rethinking' Its Views

from the tech-turn-around dept

One of the big surprises this week was that the normally “maximalist” organization, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) — basically the RIAA of software — did an abrupt and unexpected turnaround on SOPA. While it had been close to gushing in its initial support, it backed that down quite a bit, noting that the bill would likely have unintended consequences that needed to be dealt with. Behind that shift? Apparently Microsoft. Microsoft, who has been quite aggressive on copyright (and patent) enforcement lately, has always publicly supported these bills, in contrast to nearly all of the rest of the tech industry. However, even it appears to recognize that SOPA goes way too far, and apparently had a little discussion with the BSA about backing down.

Equally interesting in that article? Even AT&T appears to be quietly pushing back against SOPA:

Microsoft isn’t the only company to embrace Protect IP yet have reservations about SOPA. Tim McKone, AT&T’s executive vice president of federal relations, told CNET last week that “we have been supportive of the general framework” of Protect IP. But when it comes to SOPA, all AT&T would say is that it is “working constructively with Chairman Smith and others toward a similar end in the House.”

To say this is unlike AT&T would be an understatement. It’s been expected all along that they would support whatever was proposed on the SOPA/PIPA front. Apparently, now that they’ve taken the time to actually understand what the bill proposes, they recognize how it goes way, way too far…

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Companies: at&t, bsa, microsoft

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Comments on “Microsoft's Cold Feet Over SOPA Behind BSA's 'Rethinking' Its Views”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I’m not convinced all of them really understand (or perhaps even care) about the potential implications of these bills. I think their biggest concern is to some extent a strong enough backlash could result (as has already happened in s few cases) in contenders to the status quo using this as an assist to help remove some long entrenched politicians from office. A few firebrands here or there to help create the illusion the people are still in some sort of control is acceptable. Potentially large scale shifts to “untested” representatives is something they definitely do not want.

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile) says:

Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 12:28pm

All this extra burden will come with a nice tax added to consumers bills and probably some good tax breaks for themselves. Big Series of Tubes (if I can borrow a naming convention from bob) will make sure they don’t have to pay a dime to conform to law and small competitors will likely fold under the burden of regulation clearing the field of what little competition exists at this point. Win-Win for Big Series of Tubes!

out_of_the_blue says:

If Microsoft is against SOPA, I'm MORE for it!

But I recognize possibility that they’re doing a “don’t throw me in that briar patch” reverse-psychology double turnabout.

Why else would all these corporations reverse? Is it possible that the down sides scare even them? … Nah, the big corps won’t be bothered by it at all, as usual. I’ll stick with that they really do want it, just see the PR aspects of it as something to avoid for now.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: If Microsoft is against SOPA, I'm MORE for it!

@Rikuo (profile), Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 1:58pm

Why are you spending $100 million on a movie?

IF your question has any relevance to SOPA here, then I’d answer: because if SOPA gets passed, there’s a higher chance that the movie would remain mine, not get ripped off by millions of Little Pirates. Enough Pirates can eat an entire industry, and will if allowed to go unchecked.

There. That comprehensive enough for you?

Kevin H (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: If Microsoft is against SOPA, I'm MORE for it!

“IF your question has any relevance to SOPA here, then I’d answer: because if SOPA gets passed, there’s a higher chance that the movie would remain mine, not get ripped off by millions of Little Pirates. Enough Pirates can eat an entire industry, and will if allowed to go unchecked.”

That doesn’t make any sense. There is still ZERO guarantee that it won’t get ripped off. There is a good chance that less people may see it, but SOPA isn’t going to stop pirates. These pirates you hate so much are already in their secret lairs devising the next great transfer protocol for sharing with each other. Its what they do, and they are better at it than anyone truly wants to believe.

Rob (profile) says:

Biggest concern is money

The biggest concern of Congress is money. Especially the big money lobbyist from the RIAA throw at them. Doing the right thing, supporting democracy, making sure they don’t break the internet, is of little concern. They just want all the gobs of money big media companies will give them. They are all probably excited because now the big tech companies will be throwing money at them. This is how Washington works. Isn’t our American system wonderful?!?!?

Anonymous Coward says:

You just know this happened...

Balmer: “OK, any new business?”

MS Lackey: “Well, there’s a new bill called SOPA that the BSA wants to endorse.”

Balmer: “What does it do?”

MS Lackey: “Well, it’s a pro-IP bill. Google is trying to stop it.”

Balmer: “Awesome! If Google hates it, it must be good for us! Tell them to go ahead!”


MS Lawyer: “Mr Balmer, I heard you gave the go-ahead to the BSA to support SOPA?”

Balmer: “Yup – we’re gonna use it to cream Google!”

MS Lawyer: “Do you even know what SOPA does?”

Balmer: “Of course not – but Google is against it, and if it’s bad for Google, it must be awesome for us!”

MS Lawyer: “Actually, it’s bad for *all* technology companies, not just Google.”

Balmer: “Even better – destroy all of our competition!”

MS Lawyer: “Well, I know we’re mainly just litigating now, but we’re supposed to be a technology company. If we don’t keep up the pretense of being a technology company, the DOJ will be all over us again.”


Anonymous Coward says:

I think the thought of a lot of whining artists that don’t know the ABC let alone the law may have scared them a bit.

Think about it, anyone can ask financial service providers to cut off anybody, that part alone can bring down any website specially those for profit, Bing, Hotmail, Facebook and others services could all become targets of relentless SOPA action for the reminder of their existence, Microsoft, Google and Facebook may be off the hook with the AG but Graiglist would be a preferred target for them, anybody remember the hookers-ads affair, now every single website out there will have to be careful since the AG can just put them in those “pirate” lists and send them to be rubber stamped by a judge and they would claim ignorance or just an error if they got caught and nothing would happen.

What happens to companies when they get into disputes with the government?

Can an AG be instructed to mess with Amazon because they are against being taxed to force them to pay whatever the government wants?

Some labels today make most of their revenue from digital, can they be forced to pay taxes to other states?

This is just glorious, SOPA doesn’t affect pirates, but it does affect every business out there, the only way to scape it is to move to another country and stay the hell away from the US.

Anonymous Coward says:

Trojan horse

It’s all a ruse. They go way too far with SOPA on purpose, never intending to pass it, only to introduce the true bill which is bad but seen as much more acceptable by the critics, who put up less organized and strong resistance to the real bill.

because they even bother with pretending anyone but big business has a say 🙁

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