White House Issues Report About Online Intellectual Property Amid the Wreckage of SOPA

By Tracey E. Schelmetic April 03, 2012

A lot of people learned a lot of lessons with the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) boondoggle that saw both ordinary Americans and American technology companies – supported by the White House – come down like a ton of bricks against the legislation's authors and entertainment industry supporters.

SOPA, had it not been abandoned by its sponsors in January and instead become law, would have allowed the Justice Department and intellectual property owners to more easily get court orders requiring online advertising networks, Internet service providers (ISPs), payment processors and other organizations to stop service and payments to websites and Web-based services accused of copyright infringement. 

Called “censorship” by its opponents (including many of the nation's largest and most innovative technology companies), the bill would have been tantamount to turning ISPs, Web payment companies, search engines and other Web services companies into the Internet police against their will.

The White House has revived the issue a little bit today by publishing a new report that indicates that the Obama administration is willing to support new intellectual property legislation in Congress, but only such legislation that keeps an open Internet, Mashable is reporting today.

“Online piracy is a serious problem ... the Administration is interested in working with Congress to ensure that these issues are addressed in a manner that takes into account the challenges and opportunities of the Internet and that is consistent with the Administration’s goals and public policy principles,” according to the report, which originated from the office of Victoria Espinel, the U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator.

The White House did, however, affirm that it supports the almost equally controversial ACTA , or Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, calling it a “considerable improvement in international trade norms for effectively combating the global proliferation of commercial-scale counterfeiting and piracy in the 21st Century.”

The new report, says Mashable, is a kind of warning shot at state-sponsored digital intellectual property theft — a volley aimed mostly at China, which was mentioned 223 times throughout the report and even got its own chapter, entitled “Administration’s Focus on China.”

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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