Techs ads attack US anti-piracy bills
December 14, 2011
By Colin Mann
Following the launch earlier in December of an ad campaign in support of support of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act from Creative America, the grass-roots coalition uniting those who value American creativity and innovation in the fight against content theft, a collection of technology industry luminaries is planning a campaign of its own against the legislation.
The Internet notables – including Google’s Sergey Brin, eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar and blogger Arianna Huffington — attack the bills in full-page ads expected to run in the coming days in The New York Times and The Washington Post as well as in Silicon Valley publications.
The ad takes the form of an open letter to Congress claims that the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act in the House would deter innovation, and “deny website owners the right to due process” as well as handing the US government “the power to censor the Web using techniques similar to those used by China, Malaysia and Iran”.
The bills, which have bipartisan support in Congress, are aimed at combating foreign websites that offer pirated entertainment content and counterfeit products.
Other signatories on the letter include Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, Flickr and Hunch co-founder Caterina Fake, PayPal co-founder Elon Musk and Twitter’s co-founders Biz Stone, Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams.
A Senate staffer said the letter’s arguments were inaccurate, and that the PROTECT IP Act would not have been sponsored by 41 senators if their claims were true.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith fine-tuned his Stop Online Piracy Act this week to address criticisms. The amendment clarified that the bill only applies to foreign websites primarily dedicated to the sale and distribution of illicit and infringing material or market themselves as such.