SOPA/PIPA Supporters Pretend White House Statement Means We Can Rush Through SOPA/PIPA
from the wow,-that's-chutzpah dept
Following the White House’s surprise move to effectively tell SOPA/PIPA supporters to go back to the drawing board and come back with bills that don’t censor the internet, don’t break basic online security tools and that don’t create unjustified litigation — SOPA and PIPA supporters are going full press spin to try to pretend this is “good news.” I’m not joking. The MPAA came out with a pretty laughable statement that appears to suggest that the White House’s statement means it’s time to “stop the obstruction” and just pass the bills:
So now it is time to stop the obstruction and move forward on legislation.
Our industry not only fully supports free expression, our livelihood is built upon a vibrant First Amendment – it is the foundation of our industry and we would never support any legislation that would limit this fundamental American right. As had been made clear throughout the legislative consideration of SOPA and the PROTECT-IP Act, neither of these bills implicate free expression but focus solely on illegal conduct, which is not free speech. We agree with Secretary Clinton’s recent statement that “There is no contradiction between intellectual property rights protection and enforcement and ensuring freedom of expression on the Internet.”
Similarly, the MPAA, together with the RIAA and the US Chamber of Commerce, stunningly claimed that the White House’s statement:
“clears the way for action on these important bills.”
Talk about being in denial. This is laughable in a variety of ways. First, what the MPAA calls “obstruction” was actually the voicing of significant concerns that echo exactly what the White House claimed. For example, many of us spoke about the DNS provisions, and the White House clearly states: “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.” Yes, both Leahy and Smith have promised to delay (not completely remove) the implementation of those provisions, but that would not have happened if so many people hadn’t spoken out vocally about those provisions.
That’s not obstruction. Those were legitimate concerns — which the MPAA fought, tooth and nail, even to the point of denying that DNS blocking was any problem at all. And the concerns that remain are legitimate as well. It’s insulting, and all too indicative of how the MPAA has managed the push for this legislation, that its response to the White House telling them to go back to the drawing board and to “work together with all sides,” is to respond by saying, “just pass the bill already!”
Perhaps not too surprisingly — since he’s basically been the MPAA’s mouthpiece in Congress on this bill — Rep. Lamar Smith echoed the same claims when asked about the White House’s statements:
“I welcome today’s announcement that the White House will support legislation to combat online piracy that protects free speech, the Internet and America’s intellectual property,” Smith said in a statement. “That’s precisely what the Stop Online Piracy Act does.”
No, actually, it’s not. The current bill has tons of problems — even if we leave aside the DNS provisions. It is very much likely to censor legitimate sites — as pointed out by over a hundred legal scholars — and it has a private right of action that is likely to lead to unnecessary litigation. These are exactly the things the White House just told Smith to fix. And his response is to ignore them? Stunning. But… this is Lamar Smith, who still can’t hear any criticism of his bill. Perhaps he just thinks the White House wants to “pirate” more things.