Microsoft opposes SOPA 'as currently drafted'

Summary:As press surrounding SOPA reaches its peak, Microsoft have released their official stance on the bill.

With the tech community's attention focusing on the SOPA act this week, many people are going to wake up and probably not understand why they can't access Wikipedia, or why Google has a censorship banner on its home page. SOPA finally has got the exposure it deserves.

But what does Microsoft have to say about this?

Apart from gaining much-needed public exposure for a bill that has arguably been left out of prime time news and hidden from the general public's gaze, the SOPA blackout threats which have come to fruition now have sparked Microsoft in to making their stance clear.

The software giant issued a statement in response to inquiries of their position on SOPA:

"We oppose the passage of the SOPA bill as currently drafted. We think the White House statement points in a constructive way to problems with the current legislation, the need to fix them, and the opportunity for people on all sides to talk together about a better path forward."

Microsoft's newly unveiled stance does have some reflection on what the White house recently released:

"While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet."

In short, Microsoft opposes the bill in its current draconian state, left to hibernate until February. However, no action is planned to actively rebel against the legislation on any of its websites, including the search engine Bing. Google, its rival, has already posted a link in protest on its home page leading to a 'take action' scheme:

Tell Congress: Please don't censor the web!

Microsoft is a member of the Business Software Alliance, a collection of corporations that originally supported SOPA, but relented eventually in the face of public anger. Microsoft could stand to gain a lot from this bill, considering their software is a prime choice for pirate distribution.

On the other hand, they have fingers in other pies. The company is involved with online services such as MSN.com, which would stand to lose from this bill -- as would any media-based or interactive website.

It probably makes more sense for the software giant to keep quiet on this one, as SOPA is currently a sinking ship surrounded by incredibly bad press. By suggesting they are against the bill 'as currently drafted', it leaves a path open for Microsoft to support a new version of the legislation in future if it wishes to.

Image credit: Gareth Rushworth/Flickr

Related:

Topics: Piracy, Censorship, Google, Legal, Microsoft

About

Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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