The online outrage sparked by congresses new effort to Stop Online Piracy has reached new heights, this time stretching beyond users to the companies themselves. Facebook, Google, Twitter, AOL are all among SOPA's opponents.
On Wednesday the House of Representatives met to discuss a potential Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)--a bill that aims to curb illegal distribution of music, movies and software through federal legislation.
A group of Internet companies including Facebook, Mozilla, EBay, Twitter and Google have written to the Committee Of The Judiciary to voice their concerns about SOPA.
We support the bills' stated goals-providing initial enforcement tools to combat foreign rogue websites that are dedicated to copyright infringement or counterfeiting, they wrote. Unfortunately, the bills as drafted would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities, private rights of action, and technology mandates that would require monitoring of web sites.
In the letter the companies highlighted their fear that such measures would pose risks to the industries continued track record of innovation and job creation, as well as the nation's cyber security. We cannot support these bills as written and ask that you consider more targeted ways to combat foreign Rogue Websites.
Google's Executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, has called the proposal Draconian.
There's a bill that would require ISPs [Internet service providers] to remove URLs from the Web, which is also known as censorship last time I checked, Schmidt said in a statement on Tuesday.
Tumblr has also taken a bold stand against SOPA. When users log onto their Dashboard they will find their content has been replaced by censorship blocks. A link on the top of the page prompts them to Stop The Law That Will Censor The Internet, allowing users to enter their phone number and street address so Tumblr can give their users directions on how to call their local House Representative. Tumbler tweeted that their users are averaging 3.6 calls per second.
Clear, simple and well executed. Black lines speak louder than words! Such a clever move by Tumblr - let's hope it gets the desired result, said Facebook user Sheli Rodney in a status update.
Tumblr did a mind-blowingly good job of getting their point across. Amazing execution, just brilliant, super effective. Lots to learn from, from a product & marketing standpoint. It got me to actually call my representative, voice my opposition to the bill, and feel great about it. I was so impressed I even sent an email and tweet to the Votizen guys to make sure they took notice, it would be cool to have a consumer platform to do what Tumblr did, another Facebook user Francis Pedraza wrote on his wall.
Internet users from all over the nation have flocked to social media sites to also voice their concerns about the new bill, saying it is a form of censorship.
Here are some of the top comments on Twitter:
@-@ ##SOPA Won't Stop Online Piracy, Would Censor Everyone Else
You will never silence the voice of the American People - no matter how hard you try!
chrisbmullins Chris Mullins
Congress is about to censor the Internet. Help fight for a free and open Web: contact your member of Congress today:
unrevoked unrevoked dev team
I don't like posting political messages, but this is important: American users, please help us keep the Internet free.
Now a Soap Opera, Heavily-Backed SOPA Copyright Bill Gets New Bipartisan and Popular Opposition
//WARNING: FATAL STUPIDITY BUFFER OVERFLOW IN CONGRESS.SOPA. REMOVE ALL CORRUPTED SENATORS AND REBOOT TOO CONTINUE. #SOPA
Lockean David House
Torturing whistleblowers, beating protestors, censoring the Internet. I've definitely read this book before. #SOPA
ACLU ACLU National
Copyright protection is vital. But #SOPA sez Facebook could be shut down if 1 user uploaded 1 copyrighted video.
al3x Alex Payne
Summary of every article about the SOPA hearings: people who have no idea how technology works legislating technology into the ground.
The Protect IP Act, a senate counterpart of SOPA, was voted out by the Senatate Judiciary Committee in September, but SOPA goes much further than the initial act. The Protect IP Act only went after Web companies that were hosting unauthorized content where as SOPA specifically targets those that are breeching copyrights.
The bill has support from both Republicans and Democrats, including committee chairman, Representative Lamar Smith, the Washington Post reported.
The problem of rogue Web sites is real, immediate and widespread. It harms all sectors of the economy, said Smith, a Texas Republican, during the hearing on Wednesday.
If the bill it passed it will not only force the Websites to shut down but it would force search engines to block the sites and Visa and Paypal would have to stop processing payments.