Gibson Guitar & Others On SOPA Supporters List Say They Never Supported The Bill

from the well,-look-at-that dept

I mentioned that we'd been hearing reports that some of the companies named on "the list" companies that are in favor of SOPA were surprised about this and wanted off the list. Gibson Guitar -- which has been dealing with its own ridiculous situation concerning the feds seizing property without a clear legal basis -- is now saying that it does not support SOPA, and has been asked to be removed from the list of supporters. It sounds as if the company doesn't know how it got on the list:
Hey guys - Gibson does NOT support this legislation. Gibson's CEO has demanded that Gibson be removed from the list of company's supporting SOPA. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet!
For what it's worth, it looks like Gibson's "support" came from a letter sent by the US Chamber of Commerce in support of the general concept of PROTECT IP and SOPA, not directly about SOPA itself. It seems like this is a risk of just agreeing to sign on to something that the US Chamber of Commerce passes around without fully understanding the details or how it is to be used.

Gibson is not alone. Jim D'Addario from D’Addario & Company responded to a tweet by also saying that the company has not supported SOPA (though, he claims it might support a similar bill if it didn't have free speech implications).

So how did this happen? Well, Petzl provides some of the details. It's another company found on the US CoC's letter in support of SOPA/PIPA, but it has put out a detailed blog post of how the US Chamber of Commerce is being misleading here. The company says that it did agree to sign a US CoC letter in support of "government action against intellectual property theft via rogue websites," but that the letter they saw did not bring up any specific legislation. Thus, it says it's supportive of legislation to deal with counterfeiting, but not the approach taken in SOPA/PIPA:
To reiterate, Petzl America has not and does not support SOPA or the Protect IP Act. Nor do we support any legislation that would harm the freedom of the Internet. We are strongly against counterfeiting, especially, as in the case of counterfeited Petzl products, where the safety of the end user is concerned. By extension, we are for legislation that would help reduce the theft of intellectual property, production of counterfeit goods, and knowing sale of counterfeit goods. However, we believe that SOPA and Protect IP do not address these concerns in a constructive manner.
The issue here, yet again, appears to be one where the US Chamber of Commerce plays fast and loose with the truth, in order to exaggerate the real situation. These companies expressed interest in the general concept of dealing with counterfeit goods sold online. The US CoC then used that support to pretend that all of these companies supported a sweepingly broad set of bills that went way, way, way beyond just dealing with the narrow issue of counterfeit physical goods.

We've talked repeatedly about how ridiculous it is that supporters of SOPA/PIPA conflate physical counterfeiting with digital copyright infringement. The two are quite different in many, many ways. And here's a case where it's coming back to bite the supporters, as plenty of companies who would support a narrow action against a specific problem, are being used by the US CoC, who pretends they support broad, overreaching laws that touch on issues totally unrelated to the specific issue these companies wanted to discuss.

Filed Under: boycotts, protect ip, sopa, support
Companies: d'addario, gibson, petzl, us chamber of commerce

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2011 @ 9:39am


    Well, I'll give you that you are partially correct, all of these companies will support the concept and ideals at least of SOPA, to reduce counterfeit goods and to reduce piracy on the internet. However they do not support the actions, as the way that SOPA does this would suppress protected speech, promote censoring of anyone that a company with lawyers doesn't like, encourage the disappearance of websites based on a process that has already been abused with the more limited DMCA, and be a significant threat to security.

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