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?

Filed Under: censorship, copyright, innovation, internet, sopa, tech
Companies: ebay, facebook, google, linkedin, mozilla, twitter, yahoo, zynga

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  1. identicon
    Trerro, 15 Nov 2011 @ 11:56am

    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?

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