Kaspersky Lab founder Eugene Kaspersky has taken to the web to denounce the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), arguing that it will lead to "legalised extortion" by an army of lawyers, given that almost any web site could be accused of copyright infringement under the proposed guidelines.
Kaspersky announced on Twitter earlier this week that his firm is pulling out of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) from 1 January because it does not agree with the anti-piracy lobbying group's support for SOPA, despite the BSA itself having recorded significant misgivings about the legislation.
In a blog post explaining his decision further, Kaspersky argued that, while he does not agree with piracy, SOPA is unfair for several reasons, beginning with what he described as the "complete Americanisation" of what is effectively a globally reaching law.
"Under this law, the interests of non-American authors/creators are not protected at all, while the nationality of the perpetrators is of no importance," he said.
"This means that the rights of non-Americans can be infringed however, whenever and wherever you want. But US interests must be respected globally. The 'I don't care' position doesn't work. See the list of DNS servers: all of them are in the US or on very friendly territories."
The support of international groups such as the BSA will help to enforce this US law globally, Kaspersky warned.
"If we accept this law, hundreds of thousands of lawyers will suddenly appear out of the woodwork because almost any web site can be accused of copyright infringement. This law will lead to major legalised extortion," he said.
Kaspersky argued that the creative industries need to embrace the digital age by realising that many of their products simply should not incur such a premium price, because copying, transportation and distribution can be done at a fraction of the cost.
"The middlemen have become unnecessary," he added. "Now they will have to figure out how to transform their business in order not to disappear in the future, instead of attempting to send the internet business back to the 'vinyl age'."
Governments like that of the US should try to stimulate and develop new business models rather than protecting the old ones, Kaspersky concluded, with content priced according to quality.
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