RUSSIAN SECURITY FIRM Kaspersky does not support the US Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and is withdrawing from the Business Software Alliance as a result.
The decision was revealed in a Russian news web site report that the firm, which is frustrated with the bill, will leave the group on 1 January, 2012. CEO Eugene Kaspersky confirmed this in a message on Twitter.
"Yes, we're leaving BSA because of their support for #SOPA," he said in a tweet that links through to a report about the firm's plans. "I'll come out with a blog post re this issue."
We asked Kaspersky for more information about the statement and his opposition to SOPA, and he told us, "Yes, I do disagree. #SOPA is the vinyl-era legislation trying to manage the industry that requires a different approach."
The BSA has already suggested that SOPA needs more work, but only after it expressed its support for it, and we asked Kaspersky if his decision takes this into account. He has not replied yet, however.
In late November, when opposition to SOPA came to a head, the Business Software Alliance withdrew its earlier report and said that it was reluctant to offer its full support to the bill as it stands and has called for some changes.
BSA president and CEO Robert Holleyman said the organisation's members are concerned about the scale of SOPA and the impact that it might have on innovation.
"Last week, when the Committee held a hearing on SOPA, I listened carefully to Members' statements and questions as to how this balance would be achieved. It is evident from what I heard that much work remains ahead for the Committee, said Holleyman.
"I believe the bill's basic goals should be to promote creativity - something software and computer companies are very good at - while deterring bad actors that profit from selling copies of software and other works they do not own. BSA firmly believes these goals are compatible and achievable."
The BSA said that valid and important questions had been raised about the bill, and looked to distance itself from legislation that could throw a net over anyone that uses the internet.
"Valid and important questions have been raised about the bill. 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," said Holleyman.
"To fix this problem, definitions of who can be the subject of legal actions and what remedies are imposed must be tightened and narrowed. Due process, free speech, and privacy are rights cannot be compromised."
Other firms that are members of the BSA include Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Dell, Intel and McAfee. We have asked the BSA to comment on Kaspersky's statements. µ
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