Copyright protection is also of increasing concern to European ministers, who have woken up to the fact that their constituencies find the technology and the tricks of the trade to be abusive and offensive.
"We need to keep on fighting against piracy, but legal enforceability is becoming increasingly difficult; the millions of dollars invested trying to enforce copyright have not stemmed piracy," said Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda in a speech this weekend. "Meanwhile citizens increasingly hear the word copyright and hate what is behind it. Sadly, many see the current system as a tool to punish and withhold, not a tool to recognise and reward."
This is upheld, in the US at least, in a survey that found that most American internet users consider themselves to be internet 'pirates' and do not agree that draconian punishments for copyright infringers is a fair response to a fairly insignificant indiscretion.
While we know which firms are in opposition, it is slightly harder to find out which support SOPA. Thanks are due then to the Global Intellectual Property Center, which is an affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce and recently sent out a letter in support of SOPA that lists all the firms that support it.
Say hello then, Monster Cable, 3M, Autodesk, Electronic Arts, the Motion Picture Association of America, News Corporation, Nike, Pfizer, Premier League, Sony Electronics, Xerox corp, and many, many others.
The list does not include many technology firms, however, the Business Software Alliance supports the Act, as it said in a press release, and counts companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Dell and Symantec among its members.
"Today Chairman Smith and his co-sponsors in the House of Representatives have taken a good step by introducing legislation to address the problem of online piracy, including software piracy," said BSA president and CEO Robert Holleyman at the end of October in response to the bill entering the US House of Representatives.
Although Microsoft and the other firms mentioned above are members of the BSA, this does not necessarily mean that they also support SOPA and we have contacted them to see if they will provide clarification. µ