Much of the tech world’s attention is focused on the Stop Online Piracy Act this week, with Wikipedia and others planning to black out their sites Wednesday to protest the bill and its companion Protect IP Act. Don’t look for Microsoft to join them, but the company is now weighing in on the issue — saying in response to an inquiry from GeekWire this afternoon that it doesn’t support SOPA.
“We oppose the passage of the SOPA bill as currently drafted,” a Microsoft spokesperson says via email. “We think the White House statement points in a constructive way to problems with the current legislation, the need to fix them, and the opportunity for people on all sides to talk together about a better path forward.”
That White House statement, issued this past weekend, cited problems including SOPA’s planned use of the Domain Name System to shut down sites found to be in violation of copyright laws. But administration officials also called online piracy “a real problem that harms the American economy” and encouraged opponents and supporters of SOPA and PIPA to work together to come up with constructive solutions.
Microsoft has a multifaceted stake in the issue. The company operates major online sites and services such as MSN.com and Skype, but it also knows the challenges of piracy first-hand through Windows and other parts of its traditional business.
Along with Apple, Adobe and others, the Redmond company is a member of the Business Software Alliance, which originally voiced its support for SOPA but has since softened its stance, saying that SOPA needs work and “could sweep in more than just truly egregious actors.”
Opponents say SOPA goes too far by allowing the shutdown of sites accused of enabling copyright violations, which get an expanded definition under the bill. Google said today that it will put a message on its site on Wednesday highlighting its opposition to SOPA.