Apple’s Indirectly Supporting A Bill That Could Destroy Freedom On The Internet… And iTunes Match

Apple’s Indirectly Supporting A Bill That Could Destroy Freedom On The Internet… And iTunes Match

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a nasty, totally broken little power grab of a bill that would effectively end the concept of ‘safe harbor’ that has allowed the internet to grow and thrive over the last ten years by allowing the government to add websites to a DNS blacklist for posting any kind of copyrighted material, fair use or not.

The bill’s so stupid and the outrage over it so deafening that it’s doubtless it will be never make it into law. Too many people are openly angry about it, including Mozilla, 4Chan, Reddit, Tumblr, Facebook, AOL, Wikimedia, the ACLU, Twitter and Yahoo!

You know who supports SOPA, though? Apple. In fact, they are writing a check to support it, albeit indirectly. It’s a check iTunes Match might have to cash.

Over at The Next Web, they point out that Apple is a major player in the Business Software Alliance, and a due paying member.

What’s the problem with that? Well, the BSA is strongly in support of SOPA. From a recent BSA bulletin:

The Business Software Alliance today commended House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) for introducing the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (H.R. 3261) to curb the growing rash of software piracy and other forms of intellectual property theft that are being perpetrated by illicit websites.

Apple’s not the only company, of course. Microsoft, Autodesk, Bentley Systems, Dell, Corel, Intel, Intuit, Kaspersky, McAfee and Siemens are some of the other giants who also pay the BSA dues.

Now, it’s important to point out that Apple is only indirectly supporting SOPA, and the usefulness of the BSA as an organization goes much farther than just their tacky support of a terrible bill.

However, what’s bizarre about Apple’s even indirect support of SOPA is that if the bill was enacted, it’s possible that Cupertino could find itself falling afoul of its provisions. After all, Apple just launched iTunes Match, a service that allows users to upload their copyrighted music into the cloud. SOPA could effectively get iTunes Match blacklisted from the internet.

We’re reaching out to Apple for comment about the Stop Online Piracy Act.

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  • gareth edwards

    They are writing a ‘check’ or cheque? 

  • Sergey Kamenezki

    Sorry but are you really surprised?
    As far as i know apple always used to be on copyright protection side.
    There is no surprise.
    And i think that if apple support this bill it has ways to avoid hurting it self.
    I personally do not support any type of control over internet.
    I do buy my software and most of music not all but most. have to be honest here.
    But i guess it is everyones choice to respect copyright or not specially online.

  • Tim Meesseman

    Apple’s stance is to protect copyrights, but they HATE DRM. So they’re kind of in the middle of the road.

  • Hampus

    Yea that does in no way mean they support the blocking of sites without even a need for a legal process…

  • Hampus

    Wow… talk about a click magnet…

    Saying Apple (Indirectly) support the SOPA bill is just stupid…
    With the same reasoning you can say that that all American citizens support Obama as president as he was elected by the public. This of course is not the case, just because the majority of the citizens of America voted for Obama you can not conclude that they all support him and the rest of his government/party.

    In the same way you can’t know Apple or for that sake Microsoft or Intel supports SOPA just because they are part of a group which officially does.

    And finally, I don’t think iTunes Match could get in any trouble because of this stupid bill, just the same as dropbox wouldn’t as neither are distributing any copyrighted media without permission.

  • Jared

    This article is shit. It doesn’t matter what your opinion is either way your entitled to it but this bill won’t stop iTunes match because Apple paid the owners of the content for this capability. Nice try!!!

  • John Lehmkuhl

    Let’s see – SOPA wants to stop ALL copyrighted material from being transferred on the net – the Software Business Alliance probably would like to stop the massive bleeding of lost revenue from the torrent sites. I think SOPA is a bit too strong of an approach, but something needs to be done to curtail the free-for-all that is happening now… how would business or companies (including Apple) object from trying to protect copyright material? Do you realize how many copies of Apple’s apps are torrented?

    I don’t know what the solution is, but right now it’s beyond easy to get anything you want (software, movies, music) for free on the net with no penalty for stealing. The companies you listed in the objection list don’t have anywhere close to as much to loose as those behind the SBA.

  • Dahlijo

    Without even checking the author of this article I knew by just reading the headline that this was written by Brownlee. I’m acctually amazed by the fact that you get paid for what you do. You’re a joke.

  • CharliK

    Of course for all John knows, Apple reps have stood up and objected to the BSA supporting this bill, but they were outnumbered

  • lit3work

    A check since they are in the US. If they were in the UK they might write a cheque. Look before you leap…

  • Scott Johnson

    One possibility:  SOPA, as written, will royally screw Google.  The enemy of my enemy….

  • reneemjones

    Apple is not worried.  They know that the justice department will not take away any of *their* websites.  All they have to do is pick up the phone can call the attorney general or president to have it stopped.  It is only small players without sufficient bribe money that will be hurt by this.

  • Honyant

    You are probably correct but don’t forget that infringment doesn’t have to be proven in a court of law. Presumably you don’t even have to prove that you own the copyright.

  • gareth edwards

    I did wonder.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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