Thursday, December 22, 2011

Conservative Think-Tank "The Heritage Foundation" Comes Out Against SOPA

From CNet:
The Heritage Foundation, probably the nation's most influential conservative advocacy group, has long been a reliable ally of large copyright holders. But not when it comes to the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act.

The venerable think tank, which enjoys close ties with the Republican Party and inspired President Reagan's missile defense program and the GOP's welfare reform effort, warned today that SOPA raises important security and free speech concerns.

"The concern with SOPA is that it enforces private property rights at the expense of other values, such as innovation on the Internet, security of the Internet, and freedom of communication," James Gattuso, Heritage's senior research fellow in regulatory policy, told CNET this evening. While SOPA addresses a "very real problem," he says, it's not necessarily the right solution.

Unlike some Washington advocacy groups that are predictably anti-copyright, Heritage has historically taken the opposite position. It called the Motion Picture Association of America's decision to sue peer-to-peer pirates a "wise choice," and suggested that disrupting P2P networks to curb piracy, an idea that some politicians actually proposed, is a step "in the right direction."...

"The areas that are the most concern are the obligation of service providers to block resolution of IP addresses and the obligation of search engines to block search results," says Gattuso, whose conservative credentials include working at the Federal Communications Commission during the first Bush administration and for then-Vice President Dan Quayle. "Those get to the core issue of why the federal government could be able to interfere with the way the Internet is operated, and the core issue of what people can say and what information they can get on the Web."
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