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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Web Companies Ally Against Piracy Act

Facebook, Google, Twitter, and some other Internet companies are trying to fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). They have already sent a letter to members of the US Senate and House of Representatives, where they claim that the proposed legislation will pose a serious risk to the industry’s innovation, job creation, and online security.
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The letter in question emphasizes the dangers within the legislation before it enters the hearing by the House Judiciary committee. It was signed by such web companies as Yahoo, eBay, Mozilla, AOL and many others who asked politicians to look for more targeted ways to fight foreign infringing sites.

If this bill comes into effect, copyright holders will be able to simply erase the “rogue” websites from the face of the web, but the problem is that it is still not clear which sites can be considered a liability. Meanwhile, the Stop Online Piracy Act is supported by Republican or Democratic leaders of the House and Senate committees, US Union Movement or AFL-CIO, and the American labor union Teamsters. As for the opposing groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, they were repeatedly refused to be invited to the hearing, because the government didn’t need any counter-arguments to the law. Google was the only company that managed to speak at the hearing against the bill.

Now the letter signed by the Internet companies will allow Google’s policy counsel prove that there is opposition. Moreover, such letters keep coming in – for example, members of Congress have already sent their own letter, signed by California Democrats and the Republican presidential candidate from Texas. That letter claims that the proposed legislation will cause innovation-killing lawsuits and litigation. Other civil-liberties and left-leaning advocacy outfits agree with them, saying that through this legislation, the US is trying to dominate a shared global resource.

Finally, law professors have also sent a letter, warning that the law had “grave constitutional infirmities, potentially dangerous consequences for the stability and security of the web’s addressing system”. They also pointed out that SOPA will undermine US foreign policy and strong support of free expression online throughout the globe.

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