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Internet Giants Step Up Campaign Against Stop Online Piracy Act

Posted by: , 17:35 AEDT, Wed November 16, 2011

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A who's who of Internet companies, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, have penned an open letter urging Congress to reconsider the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, which they say could kill off innovation and put the country at risk from cyberthreats

They may be competitors, but tech giants Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, eBay and others have joined forces to oppose the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

In an open letter to members of the US Senate and House of Representatives, the tech companies urged a rethink of SOPA, as they feel the legislation could pose "a serious risk" to innovation and and the nation's cybersecurity.

The letter, also signed by AOL, LinkedIn, Mozilla and Zynga, also highlighted the bill's threat to existing DMCA legislations, which have given the Internet industry a degree of protection against ever litigious rights holders.

While the companies support the goal of SOPA, that is to reduce Internet piracy, they are concerned about the vague language present in the current draft of the bill, and about new liabilities that tech companies would be exposed to if the bill were to become law.

The open letter concluded by highlighting the importance of their own industry to the US economy, a tactic often deployed by the people behind SOPA, the music and movie industries. Internet consumption and expenditure, if it were a sector, would contribute more to the GDP than the energy, agriculture, communication, mining or utilities sectors, the letter writes, and the companies hope Congress takes this into considering when considering SOPA, as to not cripple one industry to help another.

But even as the Internet industry stands united against SOPA, other industries and organisations, including the head of the influential US Copyright Office, will testify before the House Judiciary Committee in support of the bill. Maria Pallante, director of the US Copyright Office, describes SOPA as "the next step in ensuring that our law keeps pace with infringers."

Pfizer, the MPAA, the AFL-CIO and Mastercard will also testify in support of SOPA.

Mozilla and many other websites (including Digital Digest) are also taking part in a day of protest against SOPA starting midnight November 16, by censoring their logo and linking to with details on how you oppose SOPA. You can also voice your opposition to SOPA by signing this petition hosted on the White House's own petition sub-site.


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