Tech coalition backs off SOPA support

The Business Software Alliance, which includes tech giants such as Microsoft, Intel Adobe and Apple, has pulled its support of the Stop Online Piracy Act, saying that some “valid and important questions” have been raised and that it “needs work.”

BSA president and chief executive Robert Holleyman said in a blog post Monday evening that the coalition agrees with the basic goals of the bill, but he wants the House Judiciary Committee to investigate whether the legislations has “unintended consequences.”

Other tech giants, such as Google and Yahoo, have already argued against the bill, putting them at odds with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

SOPA, as the bill is more commonly known, aims to halt Internet piracy by giving the government more control to shut down Web sites that host or point to unauthorized copyrighted content. The BSA originally supported the act, saying that it would “curb the growing rash of software piracy” promoted by illicit Web sites. Even then, however, the group stressed that it was important to “strike the right balance” between stopping piracy and limiting innovation.

Since listening to the debate over the bill — which has included a sort of popular uprising on the Internet against the measure — Holleyman wrote that SOPA needs to be pared down to be effective.

“Due process, free speech and privacy are rights that cannot be compromised,” Holleyman said, adding that “BSA has long stood against filtering or monitoring the Internet.”

On Monday, a House aide told The Washington Post that the bill was slated for markup on Dec. 15. The aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity since the legislation is still being debated, said that sponsor and committee chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is “open to changes” in the bill.

Related stories:

SOPA goes for House debate Dec. 15

Lawmaker opposition to SOPA grows

Web giants at odds with Chamber of Commerce over piracy bill

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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