Google, Mozilla and Other Web Giants  Express Concern over SOPA

Google, Mozilla and Other Web Giants Express Concern over SOPA

Later today, the US House Judiciary Committee has a hearing on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a draconian bill that can potentially kill the internet as we know it. The bill, which has a bipartisan group of sponsors, will enable the censoring of entire websites like YouTube and Facebook even if only a handful number of infringing content is found. It essentially eliminates the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyrights Act) safe harbor provisions, and puts any website that accepts user generated content at significant risk. This includes blogs that accept comments, social networking websites like Facebook, social media websites like YouTube, and social news websites like Reddit. For a lowdown on the danger that SOPA possess to the internet as a whole check out the video embedded below or head over to

Unsurprisingly, SOPA is beginning to create a furore on the internet. The web-giants that stand to lose the most if SOPA becomes a reality, have publicly denounced the bill. Google, Facebook, Mozilla, Yahoo, AOL, eBay, Twitter, and Zynga voiced their concerns in an open letter addressed to the US House Judiciary Committee.

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 roguewebsites 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.

Several international civil and human rights organizations including the Centre for Internet and Society in India and the Church of Sweden have also expressed their concern in another open letter.
Other significant efforts to organize a grass roots movement are:

Mozilla: The browser maker is attempting to educate its US users about the pitfalls of SOPA by rotating a link to its anti-SOPA campaign page on Firefox’s home page (about:home).

Reddit: Reddit, which relies entirely on user generated content, is one of the companies that will be in jeopardy if the proposed bill is passed. Besides changing its logo, Reddit has put up an announcement to encourage netizens to get involved.

Sendwrite: Sendwrite collected messages from over 3000 netizens and will be mailing them to the concerned representatives for free.

DuckDuckGo: Earlier today, DDG changed its logo and lent support to the Sendwrite campaign.

BoingBoing: The popular blog has changed its logo, in addition to asking readers to write to the Congress.

The SOPA is a disingenuous bill that capitulates to the demands of the entertainment industry. It’s a misguided effort that will do little to stop piracy. Those that wish to steal will always find a way. However, the bill will stifle innovation, and hurt the little guys – startups and work from home ventures. SOPA will allow websites to be blocked even before a case is heard. Even more importantly, how many people will have the time or ability to wrestle it out in front of a judge? SOPA is a draconian law that can devastate the internet, disrupt industries, and ruin the lives of millions across the world. The odds are heavily stacked against the activists. Four out of five witnesses that are set to testify in front of the Judiciary Committee are supporters of the bill. The entertainment industry is determined to muscle this bill through. The only way out is to let the representatives know where you stand.

via American Censorship


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Pallab De

Pallab De is a blogger from India who has a soft spot for anything techie. He loves trying out new software and spends most of his day breaking and fixing his PC. Pallab loves participating in the social web; he has been active in technology forums since he was a teenager and is an active user of both twitter (@indyan) and facebook .

  • With my favorite websites gone, there won’t be much reason left to visit the Internet, once this bill is passed.

    It is a shame, that an open country like the USA is tormented by this bill. Other countries look up to the US when it comes to Internet freedom and laws. Once this bill is passed, governments across the world will find an excuse to pass their own versions of similar bills, and kill the Internet as we know it.

  • Lets put it like this. If someone has an issue on censorship, they should take the initiative to fix that themselves. Not create a whole controversy for the rest of the world. So many people will lose money, so much information will be lost, so much of everything will be gone because of the censorship issue. If parents don’t like their kids seeing certain things, then they should learn how to block that.

    • If there is one misbehaving child in a class, will it be fair to shut down the entire school? Unfortunately, that’s what SOPA suggests. DMCA already provides mechanisms to remove infringing content. If the need be, more teeth can be added to DMCA. As someone said, SOPA is equivalent to using a Uzi to kill a mosquito, and that too a not very accurate Uzi.
      Can websites like YouTube and Facebook, which receive new user content every millisecond, be expected to analyze each and every single piece of content and filter them? That’s just not feasible. YouTube already has automated signature scanning algorithms for highlighting copyrighted material. However, a small portion of such infringing material will always slip through. For the ones that slip through, there is DMCA. Content right holders can file a complaint, and YouTube generally responds quickly. On the other hand, SOPA places the onus completely on third parties like YouTube. Even if there is a single infringing content out of the billions on YouTube, the bill suggests that the entire YouTube domain can be blocked and its funding cut off.