Internet pioneers oppose US online piracy bills

Dec 14, 2011
Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin looks on during a question and answer session during a special launch event in San Francisco, California, 2010. The founders of Craigslist, eBay, Google, Twitter, Yahoo! and other Internet giants expressed concern to the US Congress on Wednesday over legislation intended to crack down on online piracy.

The founders of Craigslist, eBay, Google, Twitter, Yahoo! and other Internet giants expressed concern to the US Congress on Wednesday over legislation intended to crack down on online piracy.

The Stop Online Piracy Act has received some bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and is the House version of a bill introduced in the Senate known as the Theft of Intellectual Property Act, or Protect IP Act.

The legislation has received the backing of Hollywood, the music industry, the , the National Association of Manufacturers, the and other groups.

But it has come under fire from digital rights and free speech organizations for allegedly paving the way for US authorities to shut down websites, including foreign sites, without due process and threatening the architecture of the Web.

The founders of the leading Internet companies added their voices to the chorus of opposition against the bills in an open letter to Congress published Wednesday in several US newspapers, including The Washington Post, The New York Times and The .

"We've all had the to found Internet companies and nonprofits in a regulatory climate that promotes entrepreneurship, innovation, the creation of content and free expression online," they said in the letter.

"However, we're worried that the Protect IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act -- which started out as well-meaning efforts to control piracy online -- will undermine that framework," they said.

The legislation threatens to "require Web services, like the ones we helped found, to monitor what users link to, or upload," they said, warning that this would have a "chilling effect on innovation."

They said the bills would also "deny website owners the right to due process" and "give the US government the power to censor the Web using techniques similar to those used by China, Malaysia and Iran."

"We urge Congress to think hard before changing the regulation that underpins the Internet," they said. "Let's not deny the next generation of entrepreneurs and founders the same opportunities that we all had."

Signatories to the letter included Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, co-founder Sergey Brin, Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams, Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake, Yahoo! co-founders David Filo and Jerry Yang, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, PayPal co-founder Elon Musk, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, founder Pierre Omidyar and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

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User comments : 10

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Nanobanano
4.3 / 5 (7) Dec 14, 2011
It's a power grab.

The "old money" industries are afraid of the loss of power they are experiencing by freedom of speech and information technology.

Personally, I think people have too much power over "intellectual property".

Patent laws are hindering the advancement and sharing of knowledge and technology.
SemiNerd
4.4 / 5 (5) Dec 14, 2011
It's a power grab.

The "old money" industries are afraid of the loss of power they are experiencing by freedom of speech and information technology.

Personally, I think people have too much power over "intellectual property".

Patent laws are hindering the advancement and sharing of knowledge and technology.

This bill is a disaster in the making and I agree its an old fashioned power struggle. I do think content providers have the right to earn a fair wage, just like everyone else, for creating and providing that content. Otherwise there will be no content. Patent law, copyrights, and trade marks are some of the ways we protect content providers so they are motivated to produce it.

So while patent laws to inhibit the sharing of content, they empower creation of it. Its unclear to me exactly where the balance line is.
Philosoweed
4.9 / 5 (7) Dec 14, 2011
The legislation has received the backing of Hollywood, the music industry, the Business Software Alliance, the National Association of Manufacturers, the US Chamber of Commerce and other groups.

Are these groups backers of the bill or "buyers" of the bill?
mattytheory
3.8 / 5 (4) Dec 14, 2011
I cant help but think that the major problems in industry today are solely to do with the for-profit business model. For-profit incentivizes corner-cutting, hoarding of information, questionable marketing and advertising, "clever" accounting, etc. IMO, non-profits have none of these issues. Their only goal is to cover costs. Period. Any profits earned can be - GASP - donated back to the community.
gunslingor1
3.9 / 5 (7) Dec 14, 2011
When music companies stop charging 18$ for a plastic disk, and only give 10% of this 99.99% profit to the artists; When hollywood stop delaying release to dvd to maximize profit at the cost of technological progress (i.e. once a movie is made, there is no reason it shouldn't be available via netflix immediately); When movie theaters stop showing adds for tampons before the movie starts; when news papers stop advertising and in term rely on payments for profit... then they can talk. They screw us over everyday. Their historical profits have been fair profits that I was willing to pay for, but with the invention of the internet, Hollywood, Record labels, and news papers are nothing but middle men, and their profits should reflect this. Yes, they should experience an increase in profit due to the reduced cost of using the internet, but their profit increase should equal our cost decrease... until it does, piracy will remain justifiable.
SeeShells
5 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2011
@Gunslingor1 You hit the nail on the head with that statement. I'm aware of the nasty acts of the music industry and how they treat their musicians that makes them billions. Don't get me wrong I'm not for piracy or stealing Intellectual Property but I refuse to let my freedoms and rights to be trusted to businesses, companies and governmental agencies with already a horrible track record. In my humble opinion it would be a big foot in your front door to allowing a Big Brother to sit with you when you surf the internet, watch movies or even listen to music. Sure let's wiretap your phone, read your email, monitor your facebook, where and when and who you visit on the net. . . Just to be sure you know.
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Dec 15, 2011
"Are these groups backers of the bill or "buyers" of the bill?" - Philo

These corporations and corporate front groups are certainly the enemies of all Americans.
gunslingor1
not rated yet Dec 15, 2011
It is funny isn't it, the republican chant "Deregulate, Deregulate ,Deregulate ,Deregulate!", but that's only businesses. When it comes to human beings it "control control control control"

your concerned about intellectual property rights are ya, your concerned about reduced profits for hollywood are ya, your plan to address this is to regulate every corner of the internet right? (Yes, it would have to be every corner and every aspect... pirates and hackers will always find a way, 150% guaranteed. So unless they intend to regulate every corner, every protocol and every person, this does nothing more than removes our rights to privacy).

Anyway, you see how concerned they are with regulating humans... yet when it comes to businesses:
-sure, pollute the air, cause 3.5M cancer cases a year
-sure, sell additive cancer cause products
-sure, don't put labels on your foods
-sure, don't tell people when your feeding them genetically modified experimental food.

Protect business, screw people.
gunslingor1
5 / 5 (1) Dec 15, 2011
-Sure, invest peoples money in abstract constructs you don't even understand.
-Sure, make your cars get 20 mpg when 150mpg is achievable for comparable cost.
-Sure OPEC, monopolize the world energy source, work together to fix price and still claim its capitalism.
-Sure Bush, monitor citizens phone calls.
-Sure Obama, hold citizens indefinitely without trial or rights.

The corruption in the government has never been more clear.... and it obviously isn't the people, business has been allowed to destroy the only single entity tasked to regulate it. Republics are against regulation of businesses (i.e. people) but they are for regulating people. Dems are just as bad at this point.
irjsiq
not rated yet Dec 15, 2011
--The corruption in the government has never been more clear....

"We The People" stand Divided/Fragmented on Many Critical Issues; meanwhile 'Our?' government continues to aggrandize 'itself', to both Our and It's (Government's) Owen Demise!
Recall Washington! 10 years, nay 40 years ago would have been even Better!
No More 'WDC Aristocracy'!; It Will Only get worse!
I MUCH PREFER 'Minarchy*' over 'Slavery'!

Roy J Stewart,
Phoenix AZ
*'Minarchy*' Too many people fail to grasp the 'meaning of the Word: "Anarchy"="Minarchy" = "No Head"="Consent of the Governed"!
NOT a Nut-with-a-Gun, who has decided that ('He' the Nut-with-the-gun)He, and Only He, Knows Best!
That is the opposite of "Consent of the Governed!!!
RjS