Microsoft opposes SOPA 'as currently drafted'

Microsoft opposes SOPA 'as currently drafted'

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

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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

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Topics: Piracy, Censorship, Google, Legal, Microsoft

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12 comments
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  • I see. So since Microsoft did not black out their logo

    they are for the bill?

    [i]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[/i]

    So in your mind, if a person does not attend a protest, they are for that which the protest is against?

    I believe the author is [b]for[/b] SOPA, as she did not black out her image on the top of the page.
    :|
    Tim Cook
    • RE: Microsoft opposes SOPA 'as currently drafted'

      @Mister Spock nice! Couldn't have said it better.
      apetti
    • Ms. Charlie Osborne is for SOPA.

      @Mister Spock <br>+1. I couldn't have said it better. Can we also say ZDNET is all for SOPA, because they haven't blacked out their logo and home page?
      Ram U
      • RE: Microsoft opposes SOPA 'as currently drafted'

        @Rama.NET

        You do [b]know[/b] that ZDNet is owned by CBS Interactive, don't you?

        'nuff said!
        fatman65536
    • Troll much, Mr. Pointy Ears?

      NT
      ScorpioBlue
  • M$ is flip flopping

    in the face of public opinion.
    But M$ secretly supports SOPA in order to grab your hard earn money!
    The Linux Geek
  • The coalition is crumbling

    SOPA is probably not dead, but will need to be reworked before it's considered.

    Since MS is the directing force behind BSA, which, according to the article, originally supported SOPA, this has to be seen as a major defection.
    John L. Ries
    • RE: Microsoft opposes SOPA 'as currently drafted'

      @John L. Ries

      Sorry, but I think you are wrong on the [i]defection[/i] part.

      Some [s]shyster[/s] corporate lawyer probably advised them to 'back off' for now, and wait for the uproar to die. Then, watch out.
      fatman65536
  • YEP!

    Microsoft is yet another big company that doesn't fancy queuing up at 9 o'clock outside the law courts every Monday morning to fight end of the week take-down 'requests' and millions of dollars of lost business every weekend! Apple, Microsoft, Adobe and many others would of course issue take-downs against their competitors/opponents at the last minute of every working week!

    No amount of re-working will get around this problem, unless very specific evidence has to be legally considered and judged upon first before any take down is acted on, ie almost as at present! And if a site was taken down, and an appeal was successful, the company or person issuing the take down might find very heavy damages indeed against them! So in effect, no-one in their right mind would issue a take down unless they were 100% sure that it wouldn't go against them and initially land them with costs, or on appeal. Seeing as most judgements are subjective, i.e. a matter of 'learned' opinion, not many would take that risk!

    Initial take-downs without proven evidence though as implied by SOPA would on the other hand result in thousands or tens of thousands of take-down requests each week, with no initial legal costs. Hence SOPA is totally dead!
    chaz15
    • RE: Microsoft opposes SOPA 'as currently drafted'

      @chaz15: Takedown requests aren't actually part of SOPA; they're rooted in the DMCA. And the worst part of SOPA is the way it's legitimized and drawn attention away from the DMCA. If we want our freedom in the Internet Age, SOPA is the wrong target. As the author points out, it's a sinking ship. But until the DMCA, the foundation of SOPA's rights abuses, is repealed and reversed, more crap like this is going to keep popping up.
      masonwheeler
  • RE: Microsoft opposes SOPA 'as currently drafted'

    (off topic) I used to subscribe to BYTE magazine. They NEVER assumed to every reader knew what an acronym meant. The causual user/reader or student could learn about something by seeing the full subject not just initials.
    So what is SOPA? What is DMCA?
    SOAIOLT ="Stamp Out Acronyms In Our Life Time"
    mike_flood
  • RE: Microsoft opposes SOPA 'as currently drafted'

    Sieg Heil ! ....sounds damn familiar. Didn't work then, won't work now. WWIII ??
    Do I hear the thunder of yet another revolution ?? ....Congress has long been overstepping it's legal boundaries, under "I'm You Leader" Obama-the-Llama, it has grown to be a world-wide laughing matter. The World is pointing their collective fingers at America, and telling their kids "That is what I've been warning you about!"
    steveparamore@...