In a statement, the White House this week said it would not support any bill that would “inhibit innovation,” for American business and vowed to protect "the openness of the Internet." Responding to growing opposition by public advocacy groups, as well as online petitions, White House officials all but ruled out passage of SOPA, or its Senate counterpart, PIPA, as currently structured.
While acknowledging the risks of online piracy, the statement said any legislative efforts 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.” The statement also flatly rejected any proposed provisions that would “tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System (DNS),” such as those contained in SOPA. The White House vowed to work on a bipartisan basis toward 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.”
Meanwhile, White House opposition isn’t the only thing standing in the way of SOPA. In a letter, Darrell Issa, (R-CA) reported on Friday that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) informed him that he will not bring SOPA to a floor vote until the bill's flaws are addressed. In the Senate, however, Harry Reid is apparently still planning to move forward with the PROTECT IP bill.
Proponents of the SOPA, mostly from the entertainment industry (including the Association of American Publishers), say the bill is necessary to combat rampant piracy. Tom Allen, AAP president and CEO, has called SOPA and the PROTECT IP Act “responsible bipartisan proposals offering reasonable measures to help safeguard the creative products of American ingenuity.” Critics, however, including tech companies, academics, the library community, constitutional scholars and free speech advocates, counter that the broad provisions of the bills would destroy the Internet as we know it, create virtual “blacklists” and foster censorship.
The White House said it will continue to solicit ideas from a range of stakeholders, and is currently organizing a conference to discuss online piracy, and would also later host an online event to get more input.