December 07, 2011, 3:08 AM —
Kaspersky Lab has unexpectedly quit the Business Software Alliance (BSA) anti-piracy organization over its tacit support for the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) legislation currently being debated in the US House of Representatives.
Having joined the BSA only 18 months ago, the Russian company said it would discontinue its membership on 1 January 2012.
"Kaspersky Lab is aware of the public controversy and debates sparked by the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Kaspersky Lab is occasionally mentioned in the discussion as a member of the Business Software Alliance, which supports the SOPA initiative," read Kaspersky's statement.
"Kaspersky Lab would like to clarify that the company did not participate in the elaboration or discussion of the SOPA initiative and does not support it. Moreover, the company believes that the SOPA initiative might actually be counter-productive for the public interest, and decided to discontinue its membership."
The BSA recently soft-peddled its previously robust support for SOPA in a blog but that clearly wasn't good enough for Kaspersky, which also implied that it hadn't been consulted on the BSA's policy towards the legislation.
"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 the BSA president Robert Holleyman in a blog on 21 November.
However, in a carefully-crafted statement he refused to acknowledge more specific criticisms of a piece of legislation that has deeply divided the technology industry.
It would be an understatement to say that SOPA has not been universally welcomed by computer and Internet companies. In the US, it has been billed as a culture clash between the established but slowly fading lobbying power of Hollywood that wants action taken over the illegal downloading of content and the newer and more global influence of Silicon Valley that sees SOPA as unnecessary overkill.