Neuromancer author slams SOPA

US President Barack Obama may have temporarily halted SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) in its legislative tracks, but other controversial anti-piracy bills will undoubtedly surface in the future.

Still, the White House had this to say in explaining its opposition to the current iteration of the unpopular Act.

“Any provision covering Internet intermediaries such as online advertising networks, payment processors, or search engines must be transparent and designed to prevent overly broad private rights of action that could encourage unjustified litigation that could discourage startup businesses and innovative firms from growing. 

“We expect and encourage all private parties, including both content creators and Internet platform providers working together, to adopt voluntary measures and best practices to reduce online piracy.”

(Note: Picture of William Gibson taken by David Alliet. Original image can be found here).

Meanwhile, famed cyberpunk author William Gibson, who penned Neuromancer and coined the term “cyberspace” in “Burning Chrome,” told the Wall Street Journal that SOPA was a perfect example of draconian legislation in action.

“I’m not by any means an enemy of intellectual property, and in fact keep a roof over my head because the concept exists,” Gibson clarified.

“But I think that SOPA as it stands now, or as it stood before they paused to think about it, is extremely ill thought out, and a basically crazily Draconian piece of legislation.”

According to Gibson, one of the problems with legislating various aspects of emerging technology is that nobody legislates the actual technology into emergence.

“This means emergent technology is sort of brought into the world by the invisible hand of the market,” he explained.

“Then we have to play catch-up and when the emergent technology is sufficiently radical that it’s pushing all sorts of societal and cultural change, and actually pushing the market in the broadest sense and changing that, we’re in a very awkward situation.


Fordham University media professor Paul Levinson expressed similar sentiments in an email to the Christian Science Monitor.

“SOPA is an unconstitutional, dangerous waste of time – that is, a violation of the First Amendment that won’t achieve its ends… [It] could [also] cripple the Internet with its provision that sites could be liable for any pirated material posted on their online premises.”