Kaspersky to ditch anti-piracy software lobbyists, BSA

SOPA support fractures alliance.

Russian antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab will reportedly leave the anti-piracy lobby group for software companies, Business Software Alliance, over its position on US piracy laws.

Kaspersky intends to withdraw from BSA on January 1, 2012 due to the BSA’s support of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), Russian daily newspaper Izvestia reports.

Kaspersky is Russia's largest tech company but just one of many tech firms there that are concerned by the impact SOPA could have, according to the report.

Russia’s largest social network, VKontakte, for example, was on the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) list of the world’s main copyright violators, and could be affected by the law.

A Kaspersky Lab spokesperson told the paper it believes SOPA could harm advances in technology and will withdraw from BSA because it did not want to be associated with the law.

Kaspersky Lab is expected to release an official statement soon.

The BSA includes amongst its members Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Dell, Intel and McAfee, and is behind most of the reports detailing the cost of piracy to the software industry. In October the alliance gave its support to the legislation.

The proposed law has raised the ire of at least 16 web giants, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Twitter, which argue the law could, amongst other things, put their operations at the whim of rights holders.

The law is mostly aimed at ensuring US residents cannot access copyright infringing websites and would demand that ISPs and search engines ensure blacklisted sites remain inaccessible.

After giving the proposal the thumbs up in late October, the BSA’s support waivered following a hearing last month that was viewed by many as stacked in favor of major intellectual property owners. Google was the only opponent of the law invited to speak.

BSA CEO Robert Holleyman wrote shortly after the hearing that the alliance still supported the bill but conceded it "could sweep in more than just truly egregious actors".

There were "reasonable questions" about the law's unintended consequences on security and communications, which were intrinsic to a healthy internet economy, he added.

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Tags anti-piracyStop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)securityBusiness Software Alliance (BSA)kaspersky lab

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