Taylor Guitars says it's not a SOPA supporter

Instrument manufacturer says 'desire to stop piracy and counterfeiting has been misrepresented'

Last week I wondered in a post why other supporters of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) weren't being punished like GoDaddy, which has attracted a boycott prompting tens of thousands of people to transfer their domains to other registrars.

(GoDaddy reversed its position on SOPA soon after the boycott was announced, but angry customers continued to transfer domains.)

I linked to a site called BoycottSOPAsponsors that had a list of companies allegedly supporting or sponsoring SOPA, which, if passed, would empower the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders to seek court orders to shut down sites suspected of copyright infringement.

But some of the companies on the list say they don't belong there, including Gibson Guitar and guitar string maker D'Addario, as reported in TechDirt.

Gibson, D'Addario and some other companies say while they support the general principles of copyright and intellectual property protection, they do not endorse the sweeping specifics of the SOPA bill as currently written.

Add to that list Taylor Guitars, which I mentioned at the end of my recent post as a SOPA supporter. Taylor communications director Chalise Zolezzi contacted me Tuesday and offered a detailed explanation of the company's position:

In August 2011, Taylor Guitars, its trade organization, NAMM, and other music industry manufacturers offered a signature of support on a U.S. Chamber of Commerce letter sent to Congressional members to encourage the introduction of anti-piracy and counterfeiting legislation. As the letter was not bill-specific, we felt the spirit of its intent was in accordance with our efforts to confront ongoing piracy and copyright infringement issues that we, like many others in the industry, continue to battle. However, our desire to stop piracy and counterfeiting has been misrepresented as support for the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261). Clearly stated, we do not support SOPA and its intent to restrict the Internet. The values of freedom, creativity and innovation are at the core of our business, and SOPA is not in accordance with those values.

Sounds pretty straightforward. A cynic might suggest that companies which appeared to be supporting SOPA are reversing themselves now because of the backlash. I certainly suspect that's the case with GoDaddy.

But I think it's much more likely that the highly politicized U.S. Chamber of Commerce drummed up support for generic initiatives to combat the sale of counterfeit goods online, which turned into SOPA, legislation that also addresses alleged copyright theft and proscribes unacceptably harsh remedies. Then the Chamber added the companies agreeing to a need for anti-counterfeiting measures to the list of SOPA supporters. And now we're here.

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