Former MPAA Tech Officer Now Opposes Anti-Piracy Legislation

Paul Brigner, a tech officer who has left his post with the MPAA, explains how he changed his mind and why he now opposes SOPA and PIPA

Paul Brigner, until recently the Motion Picture Assn. of America's chief tech officer, has changed his mind and now opposes the entertainment industry's two main pieces of anti-piracy legislation.

Brigner, who has begun work at the non-profit Internet Society, spelled out his opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act in a letter posted on the tech web site CNET.

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"I firmly believe that we should not be legislating technological mandates to protect copyright — including SOPA and Protect IP. That is what the Internet Society believes, and, frankly, that is a prime reason I chose to join the organization.

"Did my position on this issue evolve over the last 12 months? I am not ashamed to admit that it certainly did. The more I became educated on the realities of these issues, the more I came to the realization that a mandated technical solution just isn't mutually compatible with the health of the Internet."

In the piece, Brigner acknowledges that piracy is a serious problem but says a detente between between content creators and distributors is the only practical long-term solution.

"I've become convinced that the only way forward is through voluntary agreements between content and technology communities to deal with those violations. Any attempt at legislating them that hinders free speech or closes the Internet in any way is a mistake that is hard to reverse," Brigner wrote.