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. icon
    Jamie (profile), 15 Nov 2011 @ 3:40pm

    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.

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