Even Obama opposes SOPA

He probably sees that in a year's time there may be a Republican president who might use it to censor Democrats

The Obama administration said Saturday that it strongly opposed central elements of two congressional efforts to enforce copyrights on the Internet, all but killing the current versions of legislation that has divided both political parties and pitted Hollywood against Silicon Valley.

The comments by the administration's chief technology officials, posted on a White House blog Saturday, came as growing opposition to the legislation had already led sponsors of the bills to reconsider a measure that would force Internet service providers to block access to websites that offer or link to copyrighted material.

"Let us be clear," the White House statement said, "online piracy is a real problem that harms the American economy." But, it added, "We will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet."

The bills under consideration in Congress were designed to combat the theft of copyrighted materials by preventing U.S. search engines such as Google and Yahoo from directing users to sites that allow for the distribution of stolen materials. They would cut off payment processors such as PayPal that handle transactions.

The bills would also allow private citizens and companies to sue to stop what they believed to be theft of protected content. Those and other provisions set off fierce opposition among Internet companies, technology investors and free speech advocates, who said the bills would stifle online innovation, violate the First Amendment and even compromise national security by undermining the integrity of the Internet's naming system.


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