Aol, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo, and Zynga have placed a full-page ad in today's New York Times in opposition of the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and in recognition of American Censorship Day. The bill has support from Hollywood, Big Pharma, and the Chamber of Commerce, but has not allowed for any testimony from its opponents -- technology companies, free speech and human rights activists, and an overwhelming number of Internet users.
The bill, although aimed at stopping piracy, has many far-reaching, controversial measures, as summarized within the ad itself:
We support the bills’ stated goals—providing additional enforcement tools to combat foreign “rogue” websites that are dedicated to copyright infringement or counterfeiting. Unfortunately, the bills as drafted would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new and uncertain liabilities, private rights of action, and technology mandates that would require monitoring of websites. We are concerned that these measures pose a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job creation, as well as to our nation’s cybersecurity. We cannot support these bills as written and ask that you consider more targeted ways to combat foreign “rogue” websites dedicated to copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting, while preserving the innovation and dynamism that has made the Internet such an important driver of economic growth and job creation.
One issue merits special attention. We are very concerned that the bills as written would seriously undermine the effective mechanism Congress enacted in the Digital Millennium 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 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.
For more information, visit American Censorship Day.