The Business Software Alliance ("BSA"), an organization that represents software publishers in efforts to combat software piracy and copyright infringement, voiced concerns in a November 21 blog entry regarding the current Stop Online Piracy Act ("SOPA") pending before a House of Representatives committee.
The House Judiciary Committee heard arguments regarding SOPA from various interested entities on November 16. Critics of the proposed law, which would enable the government to block access to foreign web sites accused of copyright infringement, argue that it is overbroad as drafted and that it would chill First Amendment rights.
The BSA’s main concerns mirror some of the critics’ arguments about limiting the scope of the law to target only online copyright infringers. "Valid and important questions have been raised about the bill," stated BSA President Robert Holleyman. "It is intended to get at the worst of the worst offenders. As it now stands, however, it could sweep in more than just truly egregious actors."
The BSA has been a strong advocate for strict enforcement of copyright laws. If passed, SOPA could significantly impact copyright-enforcement efforts both by the government and by third parties. For example, the law would grant immunity to businesses that choose to cease conducting business with companies accused of copyright infringement.
As they have been, developments with regard to SOPA and its sister bill in the Senate – the PROTECT IP Act – should prove to be very interesting.