Facebook, Twitter, eBay & Other Big Internet Companies Come Out Against SOPA

from the good-for-them dept

While Google has been pretty vocal about its complaints concerning PROTECT IP and SOPA, and Yahoo, LinkedIn and Zynga have expressed concerns elsewhere, the silence of large companies like Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Mozilla and AOL had been unfortunate. That appears to be changing. As a group, they have now all sent a letter to the key sponsors of both bills, arguing that the approach here is the exact wrong approach, and will do significant damage to the parts of the economy that are innovating and creating jobs today:

We are very concerned that the bills as written would seriously undermine the effective mechanism Congress enacted in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) to provide a safe harbor for Internet companies that act in good faith to remove infringing content from their sites. Since their enactment in 1998, the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions for online service providers have been a cornerstone of the U.S. Internet and technology industry’s growth and success. While we work together to find additional ways to target foreign “rogue” sites, we should not jeopardize a foundational structure that has worked for content owners and Internet companies alike and provides certainty to innovators with new ideas for how people create, find, discuss, and share information lawfully online.

We are proud to be a part of an industry that has been crucial to U.S. economic growth and job creation. A recent McKinsey Global Institute report found that the Internet accounts for 3.4% of GDP in the 13 countries that McKinsey studied, and, in the U.S., the Internet’s contribution to GDP is even larger. If Internet consumption and expenditure were a sector, its contribution to GDP would be greater than energy, agriculture, communication, mining, or utilities. In addition, the Internet industry has increased productivity for small and medium-sized businesses by 10%. We urge you not to risk either this success or the tremendous benefits the Internet has brought to hundreds of millions of Americans and people around the world.

Can’t wait to see the usual commenters stop by to insist that basically every big company on the internet is only saying this because they’re dedicated to infringement. But the real question is: at what point does Congress realize that there’s real opposition to this bill from one of the few industries out there that’s actually doing well these days?

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Companies: ebay, facebook, google, linkedin, mozilla, twitter, yahoo, zynga

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Comments on “Facebook, Twitter, eBay & Other Big Internet Companies Come Out Against SOPA”

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79 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Umm, those companies who depend on not checking user submitted content, who profit on sales of potentially pirated goods, and don’t want to be seen as liable for any of it come out against a law that would do just that: Make them actually have to gbe responsible for what is on their websites.

Gawwwwwlee Gee, I am shocked.

Oh yeah, the sky is blue.

As for their “internet is 3.4%”, it’s a pretty dishonest attempt to color themselves as “the industry”, when they are just one part of it. Sorry for them, their attempts to play the numbers like that is just a little too obvious.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Duh! Just like in real life, where we don’t arrest the fellow who rented a guy a motel room just ’cause the guy got a hooker. Nor do we arrest the absentee landlord when his tenants are discovered to be running a meth-lab. Nor do we arrest the makers nor distributors of concrete when a random stranger assaults another random stranger upon said concrete.

Seriously, anybody who thinks the world should work on the principle of secondary & tertiary liability ad infinitum exhibits an apparent complete inability to reason.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Just like in real life, where we don’t arrest the fellow who rented a guy a motel room just ’cause the guy got a hooker.

But we do get to sue the motel for third-party liability for failing to protect us from getting beaten/slashed after we a.)interrupt an impromptu porno shoot and b.) “order off the menu” when presented with a list of sexual services that present porn star/hooker might be willing to provide.

http://www.pointoflaw.com/archives/2011/09/gabriel-bonilla.php

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There should be an Internet General Strike against SOPA. Google and all the other Internet companies against this bill shut down their services in protest for a day to educate their customers about it, replace normal service access with landing pages.

That’s a laugh. This is all about money. You act like Google has principles. They are soulless bloodsuckers.

Miff (profile) says:

Re: Re:

What they should do is, not shut down, but redesign their landing pages for a day- do things like put censor bars on the logos and have information about SOPA.

Right now Amazon’s homepage has an ad for the Kindle, eBay’s pushing their daily deals, and AOL’s full of news stories. Heck, even Google uses the space below their famous search box from time to time to spread awareness about things such as cancer research.

out_of_the_blue says:

No, it's still basically producers of content versus grifters.

I’ve covered this already: copied from another thread.
out_of_the_blue, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 7:30am

Google, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Mozilla, eBay all RE-distribute previously existing wealth, DO NOT create it. Yes, they make “jobs”, but those jobs are similar to stealing the copper sword off Lincoln’s tomb, are “monetizing” what they can snatch into a quick buck now.

Recently Google has become MORE embedded into many file-sharing sites, requires allowing javascript to run Google captcha. While you try to inoculate it here by a mention, it’s still in practice /directly/ profiting from file-sharing.

(Add: Mozilla thrives on Google’s money, coding it in as the preferred search engine.)

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: No, it's still basically producers of content versus grifters.

Google, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Mozilla, eBay all RE-distribute previously existing wealth, DO NOT create it.

You’re right! In a perfect world we would go online without a stupid worthless web browser, and we’d only bother with content that we already knew the location of – not waste our time with pointless indexes that help us find it. And if we want to tell anyone about it, we’d just call them, or better yet walk over to their house because telephones are bullshit too. And eBay? What a leech. If I want to sell something I own, I will put up posters all over town thank you very much. And I’ll do it myself – I’m not paying some damn postering service to do it; those parasites are just redistributing wealth.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No, it's still basically producers of content versus grifters.

Google, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Mozilla, eBay all RE-distribute previously existing wealth, DO NOT create it.

Exactly the same can be said of every other company on this planet. Creation of wealth is, of course, quite impossible — not that this stops inferior people like you from claiming otherwise.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No, it's still basically producers of content versus grifters.

Creation of wealth is not impossible. It happens when an exchange occurs between people, each with items the other person values more then what they have. For example, if I have a shirt I don’t really need (value ~$0), and you have $5, but value the shirt I have at $10 (you would have payed $10 for it) If we exchange your $5 for my shirt, we each created $5 or wealth. I value your $5 at $5 you value my shirt at $10, but lost $5.

Or lets say you have some time to look at websites, and I know how to get to the sites you are interested in. We could exchange my knowledge of where those websites are for your viewing of an ad. (ala Google)

Trerro says:

Way more than videos and music here...

One thing far too many forget is that “user-created content” isn’t just videos and such. It’s ANYTHING you post to a website – social network updates, email, yes, even posts on this very forum. If this law were to pass, here’s how to shut down almost any site on net in 5 minutes:

1. Register an account.
2. Throw a link to a random pirated torrent in your forum sig or profile. If the site in question has neither sigs nor profiles, throw the link up in a long-dead discussion that no one will see instead.
3. Report the site for infringement.

The site now has 5 days to hire a lawyer and respond, and the censors have no penalty for choosing to err on the side of shutting the site down.

It is impossible to get the services of a lawyer in 5 days, so only huge sites with an on-staff lawyers have ANY chance of responding. It is likewise impossible for >90% of websites to AFFORD to hire a lawyer, even if they had months to respond. For the few sites that actually can submit a valid response, again, the censors risk massive penalties if they guess wrong that you’re sufficiently responding, but none at all if they just ban you. What this means is that unless you’re an enormous, famous site, you’re shut down with no trial.

If you can’t see how this would not only shatter the entire net industry, but also have an insanely huge negative impact on free speech, then you’re probably one of the Hollywood shills currently posting here.

This bill would not only be the final push into a new Depression, but would pretty much be the end of democracy as we know it… and to do what, stop a handful of pirates who will just register a new site the next day?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

“There should be an Internet General Strike against SOPA. Google and all the other Internet companies against this bill shut down their services in protest for a day to educate their customers about it, replace normal service access with landing pages.”

Better than that, just turn off and stop using the internet for a month. You can stop watching all that copyrighted content too, all those movies and music and TV shows that you hate so much that you insist on downloading them all.

Live without it for a month. See how it really feels.

Anonymous Coward says:

Way more than videos and music here...

Except that if the site in question had taken the time to know who you are as a user, they could easily turn around and sue the living shit out of you for framing them, and you would likely also face criminal charges.

Sounds like a really smooth move, start doing it now so we can stop listening to your shit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I don’t care whether they have a soul or they don’t. “Soul” is immaterial to capitalism and is equally immaterial to me. Google exists to make money, so does the RIAA/MPAA. Google’s products and services matter to me a lot more than the RIAA/MPAA’s products and services do. Their interests coincide with mine.

The RIAA/MPAA has had to descend into parasitical seeking of legislation to protect their monopolies and failed business models, while Google simply requires that government leave them alone.

As such, I would prefer Google to exist and make their profit rather than the RIAA/MPAA.

In fact, I hope the RIAA/MPAA goes out of business and they have to get real jobs. They are parasites.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

I don’t watch TV, movies, or listen to music beyond what is on the radio (which doesn’t have to pay royalties). I want to have nothing to do with the RIAA/MPAA or their members. I have boycotted their products for years.

I only ask that they leave the Internet alone. The Internet isn’t their property. They should stop treating it like it is.

Togashi (profile) says:

No, it's still basically producers of content versus grifters.

Yeah, that damn Facebook and their stealing from the legacy “I wonder what my friend Jane is doing these days” industry! That damn Mozilla and their stealing from the oh so successful paid web browser industry! That damn Twitter and their stealing from the “I wonder what some random celebrity is thinking” industry!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

It feels good, I just learned how to measure the brains of fossils using open source tools, if you have some CT scans of your skull we could measure your brain size LoL

http://openpaleo.blogspot.com/2008/12/3d-slicer-tutorial.html

3D-Slicer doesn’t even need installation just download it and click on the binary and it just starts its just magical.

http://slicer.org/

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Losing revenue for a day would be a lot cheaper in the long run than losing entire revenue streams due to the loss of safe harbor.

Plus, if one gives into this legislation, what will be next? You’re basically allowing a gang of government-granted monopolists – looters to the core – to have a legislative veto over your business model.

If you pay ransom to hostage takers, you only encourage hostage taking in the future. If you pay Danesgeld, you never will be rid of the Dane.

Google should account for it as a one time charge and explain to shareholders that it was necessary so as to stay in business.

A Monkey with Atitude (profile) says:

Re:

nope y’all failed long ago, that’s why you need idiotic laws to prop up the failure that is the recording industry for a bit longer…

Now let me help clue you in, the internet and the web-walkers that understand it will be disrupted for about 10 minutes by what you purpose, then the internet (as is its nature) will route around the problem (IE stupidity caused by Ass-hats)… that’s the nature of the beast, how it was made, you don’t blame the lion for killing the zebra. So what will happen is the recording industry will keep pushing and pushing because the last law didn’t go far enough, and will keep passing step after step of lock down on the internet, in America (home of the free, irony anyone), till the average users that grew up with the internet in its present very happy configuration consider broken, then they will look for who kill golden goose, and there lo and behold will sit big content with feathers still in its mouth and the the legislators that they bought to do it… then the wheels come off as they say and a extreme reaction to it will happen, I figure it will be total kill off of IP / Copyright, and then you will truly be done… you will have bought maybe 2 – 3 years of further survival before extinction.

There is one other path that does not lead to total destruction of IP (Copyright and all the rest) but we will have to see if you ever even try (and thus will be judged)…. Or acknowledge a different way besides name calling/labeling/lying/bribing

Chris Hoeschen (profile) says:

Do a simple internet search for SOPA and you can find all kinds of different companies against it. Does Congress really live in a bubble where the only people they hear are the ones that are allowed to testify? One would think that our own reps would research a bill outside of DC before voting ya or na. But then again that would involve common sense, something I think is removed before an official is sworn into office.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Bullshit.

You dorks wouldn’t know what to do with yourselves if you had to actually leave the house, instead of being glued to the screen all day.

All of you here are hopelessly addicted to content. And you resent the creators because of that. And also because they’re more talented and popular than you, have a cooler job, and get laid, whereas you don’t…

The reason you’re panicking is because your easy free lunch is about to get taken away and you’re worried about not getting your fix.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Way more than videos and music here...

Except that if the site in question had taken the time to know who you are as a user,

So I assume you have given Mike your name, address, personal bio, last 3 employers, credit card info, and notarized letter from your 3rd grade teacher that you’re a good little boy and don’t tell lies or post infringing material?

Rikuo (profile) says:

No, it's still basically producers of content versus grifters.

Blue, I’ve called bullshit on this comment before. I’ll just repost what I said before

“Fail. Complete fail.
Javascript is developed by Netscape Communications Corporation and the Mozilla Foundation. Netscape is a subsidiary of AOL. Neither Netscape, Mozilla or AOL are a part of Google in any way shape or form. They may do business with Google, I don’t know if they do or do not, but they are completely separate entities.
Plus, your last paragraph is laughable. It only proves Mike’s point about second and third party liability. Now you want Google to be held liable for the actions of others simply for putting up a captcha? (which is false by the way, as I said above) Real world analogy: a storage shed business is investigated and the guy who built the locks for the sheds is also held liable…wait what?”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

No, you ignorant asshat, they’re not evil. They provide the content you’re addicted to.

And the outlier examples of malfeasance you like to focus on, even if they were all added up together for decades, don’t match the ripping off that was done by you pirates in the last month alone.

So just shut your greedy, whining, lying, entitlement-mentality piehole already.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re:

So…because they make content…they’re somehow excused for the crimes I’ve listed above?
And I say, good sir (and I use that term lightly), the vitriol in your response is what I’ve come to expect from those who support the labels. Especially when you tell me to shut up. I don’t tell the labels to shut up. I think that what they and you are saying is ridiculous, but at no point, will I ever advocate for your speech to be silenced.
After all, the last sentence…all those adjectives can be easily applied to the labels themselves.

Jamie (profile) says:

Re:

So you would advocate manual review of all user-posted content on all websites, worldwide? Do you have any idea of how financially crippling that will be to web sites?

Let’s take YouTube, one of the biggest sites. They have (on average) roughly 48 hours (172800 seconds) of video uploaded to them every second of every day. Let’s assume that they have to review between 1/2 and 2/3 of that in order to pick out infringing content; that’s 100000 seconds worth of video to be reviewed, every second.

In order to review all of that content with minimal delays, they would need 100000 reviewers working at any one time. If those reviewers were being paid a mere $1 per hour, it would still cost YouTube $876 million a year in review costs ($100000/hr x 24 hrs/day x 365 days/year).

The real costs to YouTube would be a lot more than this. For starters, competent reviewers would most likely cost a lot more that $1 per hour. There would be small delays between watching each video, meaning that more reviewers would be needed. There are also management costs, the costs of implementing the review system, etc. The true costs are more likely to be upwards of $5 billion a year.

And that’s just YouTube. I’m not even thinking about sites like Facebook, MySpace, Vimeo, web forums, etc. The total cost to the tech industry would be hundreds of billions of dollars a year, and that’s just to keep the legitimate sites running. Piracy might drop slightly, but illegitimate sites would still continue to run in dark corners of the web, and would still drive the vast majority of the world’s piracy.

SOPA is not going to stop piracy. It’s barely going to make a dent. And yet it will cost legitimate web sites billions of dollars a year, just so they can avoid being blocked or having their revenue streams cut off. This is why SOPA should be stopped dead in its tracks.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re:

You dorks wouldn’t know what to do with yourselves if you had to actually leave the house, instead of being glued to the screen all day.

Heh. See, this is the problem: you status-quo types claim to embrace change and new technology, but in your heart of hearts, you still think you live in a world that hasn’t existed in more than a decade. For example, a world where consuming media means staying at home, glued to a screen, as an antisocial dork. I mean really now. Ever heard of an iPhone old man? They can do pretty crazy stuff! And they fit in your pocket! You should play with one some time – but try not to let your head explode. Actually what am I saying – the head wants what it wants – go for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

So you’re saying I watch TV, listen to things other than the radio, and watch movies? Gee, you know more about me than I do. I’m sorry to tell you this but I don’t. (Admittedly, I play games, but I pay for those, as a general rule.)

I don’t resent the RIAA/MPAA. I have no use for them. They’re obsolete buggy whip manufacturers. If they leave me and what I value alone, I hope they die a natural death through obsolescence. They tamper with the Internet, I hope the Internet tampers with them through a boycott and they go out of business.

Wig says:

Re:

No, they don’t provide me with content! That’s the entire point!

They contract artists to provide them with content and then try every way NOT to pay them.

They don’t provide me with anything except DRM and a lot of hassle even when I do fork over the (outrageous amount of) money.

I’d much rather buy (not license) directly from the artist. That way I’m sure the artist gets payed and I’m not conned.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

“The tech to do so has been available for years.”

Yes it has. It’s also completely imperfect despite being able to do the volume of work that would be almost impossible for human being to do. YouTube also has vital protections in the DMCA to stop you idiots from shutting down a service that’s extremely useful to you because it can’t catch everything, something that you apparently want to see stopped.

“You idiots act like technology stopped evolving the day you were able to start ripping off music…”

Again, one day you’ll realise that many of us don’t do that. One day, an adult discussion will ensue…

Wig says:

No, it's still basically producers of content versus grifters.

Google, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Mozilla, eBay all RE-distribute previously existing wealth, DO NOT create it.

Neither do the media corporations create content. The artists create the content, the media corps only RE-distribute it after encapsulating it in 3000 layers of DRM, EULA and proprietary formats…

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