The idea behind SOPA, as Chairman Smith explained at last week's hearing, is to remove pirates' ability to profit from their theft. We think that is the right approach as long as it is done with a fine touch.
The BSA's position isn't surprising considering their focus on software piracy, including an annual report which includes claims every bit as ludicrous as the figures spouted by the RIAA and MPAA.
Last year, in a report on the veracity of piracy numbers reported by various trade groups, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) said of the BSA's report, "it uses assumptions that have raised concerns among experts we interviewed, including the assumption of a one-to-one rate of substitution."
That focus on piracy, apparently at the expense of any other considerations, is costing the BSA one of their high profile members. Kaspersky Lab will be dropping their membership, effective next January.
Eugene Kaspersky, Chairman and CEO of the company, wrote a detailed rant on his personal blog explaining his problems with SOPA, and the reason his company can no longer support the BSA. In part, he says:
What bothers me is the complete 'Americanization' of this Internet law. Of course, this is a matter of habit. Any state should, of course, think first of all about its citizens, their interests, protecting its own inventors, developers and manufacturers and about its economy. However, under this law, the interests of non-American authors/creators are not protected at all, while the nationality of the perpetrators is of no importance.
This means that the rights of non-Americans can be infringed however, whenever and wherever you want. But US interests must be respected globally. The 'I don't care' position doesn't work - see the list of DNS servers: all of them are in the US or on very friendly territories. Yes, that's right-the carrot is across the ocean and the stick is there too.
National interests are only part of the problem. The saddest thing is that this law is going to be introduced in the rest of the world due to the actions of associations such as the BSA, which blindly supported SOPA while ignoring any other point of view. We had to withdraw from this association because we disagree with its decision. And this is why.
If we accept this law, hundreds of thousands of lawyers will suddenly appear out of the woodwork because almost any website can be accused of copyright infringement! This law will lead to major legalized extortion. The Internet business faces hard times - look at those who do not want to join SOPA: eBay, Facebook, AOL, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Yahoo, Wikimedia, etc. And the list of SOPA's supporters? Well, there's the aforementioned BSA (including Apple, Microsoft, SAP, Symantec and other software developers - this time without us) and, most importantly, this law is being promoted by:
RIAA - the Recording Industry Association of America,
MPAA - the Motion Picture Association of America.
That's where SOPA stems from!
Additionally, he had detailed comments about the state of copyright in the age of cheap and easy copying:
Protecting the film/audio/software and other 'intellectual' industry interests by means of SOPA is like taxing e-mail in favor of the State Postal Service, or forcing Skype to charge the same as the phone companies. It's like copyright holders, as they have tried to do in Russia, claiming a levy on the sale of every blank DVD or memory stick in case someone uses it to store a film or a song rather than family photos or home movies.
BS? Absolutely! This is complete and utter nonsense from the era of the dinosaurs - and we know their brains were the size of a pea.
At the same time, I do not share the principle 'everything is free to everybody'. Not only do the authors have to eat, they need money to create their products, this intellectual property, which is sometimes a rather cost-based thing (for example, the budgets for film production or software development can amount to tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars).
I believe the things should be arranged so that:
- Users can quickly find what they want and buy it immediately (iTunes is a good example);
- It does not violate the interests of the copyright holders
- As for the middlemen?. Let them SOPA off!
Kaspersky's post, titled SOPA Dodger, gets into much more detail about his opinion, and is well worth reading.
Hmmm, Might have to switch from Avast to Kapersky...