Obama: Foreign Internet piracy is ‘not right’

{mosads}The controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act are aimed at blocking access to foreign websites that offer illegal copies of music, movies and TV shows. But Web companies argue the bills would stifle innovation and censor free speech.

A Web protest sparked an explosion of voter anger, and congressional leaders have now pulled the bills.

Earlier this month, the Obama administration expressed concerns over the piracy bills, but emphasized it is committed to cracking down on copyright infringement.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has proposed an alternative anti-piracy bill called the OPEN Act that is friendlier to Web companies and focuses on piracy as a trade issue. 

In his speech, the president argued that innovation is the key to rebooting the American economy.

He proposed doubling the tax deduction for high-tech manufacturers and called for further investments in infrastructure.

“So much of America needs to be rebuilt,” Obama said. “An incomplete high-speed broadband network that prevents a small business owner in rural America from selling her products all over the world.” 

Obama also touted the comprehensive cybersecurity proposal he sent to Congress last year, which made him the first president to propose detailed legislative language on the issue.

“To stay one step ahead of our adversaries, I have already sent this Congress legislation that will secure our country from the growing danger of cyber-threats,” Obama said.

The White House cybersecurity language tracks closely with a proposal from the Senate Homeland Security Committee; the Senate is expected to take up comprehensive cybersecurity legislation in the coming weeks.

–This post was updated at 10:15 p.m.

Gautham Nagesh contributed reporting to this post.


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