Public Knowledge Welcomes White House Statement On Intellectual Property Bills

The White House today responded to public petitions asking for the Administration to oppose bills the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). The reply is here.

The following is attributed to Sherwin Siy, deputy legal director of Public Knowledge:

"The White House has made a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate over the Stop Online Piracy Act ( SOPA) in the House and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) in the Senate.

"The statement, co-authored by Victoria Espinel, the IP enforcement coordinator, Aneesh Chopra, the chief technology officer, and Howard Schmidt, the cybersecurity coordinator, affirms the message that legislation tampering with the Domain Name System (DNS), one of the fundamental building blocks of the Internet, poses real risks to the security and stability of the Internet.

"The White House also was correct to oppose the parts of the bill that would give private parties far too much authority to pursue their own litigation that could harm startup companies and stifle innovation. The statement also highlights the need for any legislation to be narrowly tailored to criminal violations of existing law and with appropriate due process to ensure that online speech is not stifled.

"This statement, combined with the decision of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) to postpone consideration of his bill next week, shows that the messages being sent by the public in opposition to this bill are finally getting through to Washington.

"That message should be heard in the Senate as well, where a vote is scheduled for Jan. 24. We urge the Senate leadership to postpone consideration of the bill until a consensus bill can be drafted."

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