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Today more than 50 venture capitalists -- from forty firms which have funded many of today's most popular Internet companies -- have announced their opposition to S968, Senator Leahy's PROTECT IP (PIPA) Act. In a letter to Congress, the financiers noted PIPA, "will stifle investment in Internet services, throttle innovation, and hurt American competitiveness." The new business opponents join free speech advocates and companies like Google in pushing back against this dangerous legislation.

You can read the letter and urge your lawmakers to oppose PROTECT IP by clicking here.

PIPA would give the government the power to force Internet service providers, search engines, and other “information location tools” to block users’ access to sites that have been accused of copyright infringement — initiating a China-like censorship regime here in the United States.

As one signer of the letter noted, "The signatories to this letter work for firms that manage over $13B. We are early investors in services like Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, Skype, Groupon, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Foursquare, and a host of other important web services. The services we have backed now reach over a billion users."

In particular, the letter's authors worry that:

1) By requiring “information location tools” -- potentially encompassing any "director[ies], index[es], reference[s], pointer[s], or hypertext link[s]” -- to remove access to entire domains, the bill puts burdens on countless Internet services.

2) By requiring access to sites to be blocked by Domain Name System providers, it endangers the security and integrity of the Internet.

3) The bill’s private right of action will no doubt be used by many rights-holders in ways that create significant burdens on legitimate online commerce services. The scope of orders and cost of litigation could be significant, even for companies acting in good faith.  Rights-holders have stated their interest in this private right of action because they worry that the Department of Justice will not have enough resources to initiate actions against all of the infringing sites.  Yet, why should costs be shifted to innocent Internet entrepreneurs, most of whom have budgets smaller than the Department of Justice’s?

The more Americans have heard about the details of Leahy's PROTECT IP bill, the more we've seen them come out against this dangerous Internet censorship effort. The very people who made the Internet as we know it today possible are opposing this bill -- and that should trouble anybody who claims to care about protecting American jobs.

You can read the letter and urge your lawmakers to oppose PROTECT IP by clicking here.

More than 350,000 people have signed Demand Progress's petitions against PIPA and the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act -- an earlier version of the same bill. Over 50,000 members emailed their lawmakers last week to demand that they join Senator Wyden in opposing the bill. And more than 6,000 Demand Progress members have called their lawmakers to urge them to oppose PIPA.

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Comment Preferences

    •  How to kill this dead: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Note the quote: "...Rights-holders have stated their interest in this private right of action because they worry that the Department of Justice will not have enough resources to initiate actions against all of the infringing sites...."

      Translation:  If I can't count on the police to protect me, I demand the right to "private right of action" including vigilante justice.  

      OK, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.  And this is how we kill the bill.   Insert an amendment roughly as follows:

      To provide equal protection of the law, ANYONE who feels that law enforcement does not have enough resources to initiate action against criminals who victimize them, has a "right of private action" up to and including removal of the alleged offenders from the domain known as Earth.

      In other words, if your bicycle or car gets stolen, and your city has cut back the police department such that property crimes aren't being pursued, you can go after the suspect and shoot them.  

      Because that, after all, is what Leahy in his infinite self-contradiction, is proposing to allow Disney and Sony and so on to do.  And what's good for Mickey Mouse is good for the rest of us, right?  

  •  Thank you for your coverage (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PatriciaVa, G2geek

    of this very important issues, I've wrote about this and I'm glad I'm not the only one covering it. Thank you.

    Aren't they amazing? They could go on forever, aimlessly talking about pointless subjects. Even I'm beginning to admire them for it. -- Nagisa, A Lollipop Or A Bullet

    by Dom9000 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 03:07:24 PM PDT

  •  Besides garbage exports, the USA (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster, bobsc, G2geek, BusyinCA

    only ranks #1 in one other category (to my knowledge): in which it is tied with the UK and China for the top rung in "Surveillance Societies"

    Heck, if we don't have this type of thing going on, we might slip a notch into second place next time around.

    I for one would be mightily saddened to see that happen

  •  Already signed, Thanks. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing." - Thomas Paine

    by blueoregon on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 03:34:52 PM PDT

  •  Why does a progressive like Leahy support this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What is his reasoning?

    "How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity." William S Burroughs

    by shmuelman on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 03:44:49 PM PDT

    •  Leahy a progressive? By what measure? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      goinsouth, G2geek

      Does the Senator have any accomplishments? I can't recall one. Leahy rattles his sabre now and then but never uses it.

      Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

      by kck on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 04:15:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I Feel Better w 50 Venture Capitalists Opposed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yet another liberal, G2geek

    to it than 50 million Americans.

    I feel bad that that's a rational preference.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 03:48:13 PM PDT

  •  Done. (4+ / 0-)

    We live in an unprecented time in history given that so many of our legislators have no idea about the technology about and upon which they wish to legislate controls.

  •  I urge support for the bill (0+ / 0-)

    Your assertion that this will result in arbitrary censorship is nonsense.

  •  Electronic Frontier Foundation nix's it too. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PatriciaVa, goinsouth, G2geek

    EFF(my bold, details at link)

    May 12th, 2011
    The "PROTECT IP" Act: COICA Redux
    Deeplink by Abigail Phillips

    Update: An official Senate version of the draft PROTECT IP Act has been released and is available here. This version changes the “interactive computer services” language mentioned in our post below to “information location tools,” a term that points back to section 512(d) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In that context it’s been generally understood to refer to search engines, though there’s no guarantee we wouldn’t see efforts to expand the definition in actions under this bill. But in any case, requiring search engines to remove links to an entire website raises serious First Amendment concerns considering the lawful expression that may be hosted on the same domain.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Last year’s rogue website legislation is back on the table, with a new name: the "Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011"—or (wink, wink) "PROTECT IP". The draft language is available here.

    The earlier bill, which failed to pass thanks largely to a hold on the legislation placed by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, would have given the government dramatic new copyright enforcement powers targeted at websites "dedicated to infringing activities," even where those websites were not based in the United States. Despite some salient differences (described below) in the new version, we are no less dismayed by this most recent incarnation than we were with last year’s draft.

    Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

    by kck on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 04:22:26 PM PDT

  •  US has gone from 40 year copyright protection..... (5+ / 0-) the 1800s to 105 year protection today.

    What did Justice Breyer say about the last extension?

       * JANUARY 17, 2003

    0.2% for the Mouse!

    In his dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer offered an economic argument that copyright holders achieve 99.8% of all possible benefit under the old law compared to what they'd gain from a perpetual copyright. If that's correct -- few would put the number at any less than 99% -- the act was a fight over 0.2%. For Justice Breyer, giving the trivial worth of the extra 20 years was proof that the act could not "rationally be understood to advance a constitutionally legitimate interest." But for Disney, 0.2% may be worth some lobbying. It wouldn't take much because there's no natural opposition. The owners of works in the public domain -- that is, everyone -- don't even know who they are. In a footnote, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg offered a half-hearted defense of the law by noting that Congress heard testimony from Bob Dylan and Carlos Santana. These rock icons offered their pleas in 1995, when the issue was completely off the radar.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

    by PatriciaVa on Thu Jun 23, 2011 at 04:55:10 PM PDT

    •  Mouse Turds for Congress! (0+ / 0-)

      What do to about this bill:

      Send letters with mouse turds to Congress!

      Not real mouse turds of course, those are icky and you could get busted for biological terrorism.

      Use chocolate sprinkles instead!  They look real but they're safe to send through the mail.  

      Now to be especially safe about this, the opening line of your letter should say "In view of your support for the PROTECT IP act, which is all about protecting Mickey Mouse: Here, have some MOUSE TURDS (enclosed).  They're actually chocolate sprinkles but you can think of them as mouse turds...."

      The key to that is to immediately disclose that what's actually in the envelope is harmless and purely symbolic.  That preserves the value of the protest as symbolic speech and should protect you from getting busted for terrorism.  

  •  Wipe out Canadian Pharmacies (0+ / 0-)

    Protect IP is going to eliminate the ability of Canadian Pharmacies to operate selling grey market medications on the Internet...   See:

    PROTECT IP Wipes Out Legit Canadian Online Pharmacies

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