Kaspersky Lab has decided to quit the Business Software Alliance to protest the industry trade group's support of the Stop Online Piracy Act, calling it "legalized extortion."
Lab has quit the Business Software Alliance to protest the controversial
anti-piracy bill currently making the rounds in Congress.
passed, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would allow copyright holders to
order sites to be shut down just by claiming the sites were selling or
distributing counterfeit or pirated products. Many technology giants, including
Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter, have opposed the bill, noting that it
amounted to Web censorship in the name of copyright protection.
Business Software Alliance, an industry group that has several technology
companies as members, including Microsoft, Dell, Apple, Adobe, Intel, McAfee,
Symantec and Sybase, has supported SOPA, which was introduced in the House of
Representatives in October. Recently, the alliance acknowledged there are some
issues with the bill that need to be modified so that due process, free speech
and privacy aren't compromised, but it remains overall supportive of the
a member of BSA, Kaspersky Lab was grouped in with companies that supported the
bill, even though the Russian company opposes the legislation and also hasn't
been involved in the group's internal discussions, the company said in a
statement Dec. 5. Kaspersky Lab will withdraw its membership on Jan. 1, 2012.
believe that such measures will be used contrary to the modern advances in
technology and the needs of consumers," the company said.
has already quit the United States Chamber of Commerce to protest the group's
support of SOPA, and Google has threatened to follow.
a blog post,
Eugene Kaspersky, the company's CEO and founder, explained some of his
reasons for opposing SOPA. He is bothered by the "complete
'Americanization' of this Internet law," since, as the bill currently
stands, the interests of non-American authors and creators are not protected at
all, but the nationality of the infringers would be "of no
rights of non-Americans can be infringed, but U.S. interests must be respected
globally, Kaspersky noted. SOPA was written to supposedly target counterfeiting
sites run by overseas operators. "Hundreds of thousands of lawyers"
will appear because almost any Website can be accused of copyright
infringement, he wrote, adding that the law would "lead to major legalized
saddest thing is that this law is going to be introduced in the rest of the
world due to the actions of associations such as the BSA, which blindly
supported SOPA while ignoring any other point of view," Kaspersky wrote.
reiterated his anti-piracy stance, writing, "I find unauthorized use of
intellectual property unacceptable, especially for mercenary ends." He
said the old rules of copyright protection and intellectual property belong to
the "era of dinosaurs" and need to be changed to reflect that people
now consume content differently thanks to the Internet.
Internet age has no place for the rudiments of the bygone age of vinyl, which
is a far cry from today's technologies, customer demands and reality in
general," Kaspersky wrote. Google and Apple have already tested out new
models of content distribution, and governments should think about stimulating
and developing new business models instead of protecting old ones, he said.
are very disappointed to learn that Kaspersky Lab may not renew their
membership in BSA, especially given we share many of their concerns over
SOPA," BSA Vice President of Government Relations Katherine McGuire said
in a statement.