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Internet Firms Join Lobbying Game, Internet Association To Fight For Net Freedom

Posted by: , 12:30 AEST, Fri September 21, 2012

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A new lobby group has been created by some of the biggest tech companies in the world to help fight for a free Internet, and to counter bills like SOPA should they ever pop up again
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Image/Photo Credit: Internet Association

Another voice of opposition will now be heard in Washington, as Internet tech giants including Amazon, Facebook and Google have joined forces to counter the pro-copyright dominated lobbying game.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have long been expert lobbyists in Washington, holding an enormous amount of clout among both major parties. Vice President Joe Biden, for example, has been a long time supporter of the RIAA, and the MPAA praised both the Democratic and Republican copyright platforms after their recent conventions.

The MPAA and RIAA also joined forces last year to sponsor the highly contentious Stop Online Piracy Act (and the Senate's Protect IP Act), with the bill looking likely to sail through the House before wide-spread protests online forced representatives to reconsider, and eventually shelving the bill indefinitely.

While those events represented a great victory for Internet tech companies, most of whom were opposed to the bill, the fact of the matter was that it was more than a close call. Perhaps as a way to avoid the necessity of having to hold mass public protests, protests which relied upon thousands of websites joining in to black out their content.

And so the Internet Association was born, a lobbying group that aims to represent the interests of Internet companies, to fight for a free and open Internet. The current list of members include a who's who of Internet giants, including Amazon, AOL, eBay, Expedia, Facebook, Google, IAC, LinkedIn, Monster Worldwide, Rackspace, Salesforce.com, TripAdvisor, Yahoo and Zynga.

And appointed as their president is Michael Beckerman. Beckerman says the Internet Association will in the future come out strongly against bills like SOPA that threaten the freedoms of the Internet. "We’ll make sure Congress understands how [the bill] will censor the internet and greatly harm the infrastructure of the internet," Beckerman said, before adding that the mission of the Internet Association is "to be the unified voice of the internet economy in the policy debates that arise."


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