Sound Bites From the SOPA Strike
Today wasn’t just a day for SOPA-protesting Web sites to darken their sites or even make them unavailable. As the news cycle unfolded, there were many statements issued by prominent executives and politicians on the matter. Here’s a rundown of some of the more notable comments made today:
The internet is the most powerful tool we have for creating a more open and connected world. We can’t let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the internet’s development. Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the internet.
The world today needs political leaders who are pro-internet. We have been working with many of these folks for months on better alternatives to these current proposals. I encourage you to learn more about these issues and tell your congressmen that you want them to be pro-internet.
The Internet has become an integral part of everyday life precisely because it has been an open-to-all land of opportunity where entrepreneurs, thinkers and innovators are free to try, fail and then try again. The Internet has changed the way we communicate with each other, the way we learn about the world and the way we conduct business. It has done this by eliminating the tollgates, middle men, and other barriers to entry that have so often predetermined winners and losers in the marketplace. It has created a world where ideas, products and creative expression have an opportunity regardless of who offers them or where they originate.
Protect IP (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are a step towards a different kind of Internet. They are a step towards an Internet in which those with money and lawyers and access to power have a greater voice than those who don’t. They are a step towards an Internet in which online innovators need lawyers as much or more than they need good ideas. And they are a step towards a world in which Americans have less of a voice to argue for a free and open Internet around the world.
In a single generation, the Internet has transformed our world to such an extent that it is easy to forget its miraculous properties and take it for granted. It’s worth reminding ourselves, though, that our future economic growth depends on our ability to use the Internet to share new ideas and technology. Measures that block the freedom and openness of the Internet also hinder innovation. That poses a threat to the future success of Red Hat and other innovative companies.
The sponsors of SOPA and PIPA claim that the bills are intended to thwart web piracy. Yet, the bills overreach, and could put a website out of business after a single complaint. Web sites would vanish, and have little recourse, if they were suspected of infringing copyrights or trademarks.
The good news is that there is growing opposition from many quarters to these bills. Just this past weekend, the White House expressed serious concerns, opposing legislation — like SOPA and PIPA — that “reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.
In my last blog post on SOPA and PIPA, I explained why Rackspace — along with much of the Internet community — opposes these bills in their current form. They are well-intentioned, but would do more harm than good. Their enforcement provisions could be easily evaded, and they would undermine the security and stability of the Internet.
Since then, I and other Rackers have been working with key lawmakers to fix the bills so that they will (a) actually be effective in fighting online piracy, and (b) avoid disrupting the Internet or imposing unreasonable costs on Internet users and service providers.
We at Rackspace are on the front lines of the battle against copyright infringers and other online criminals. We employ dedicated teams that take enforcement actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as well as our own strict Acceptable Use Policy every day. We agree that better tools are needed for this fight but SOPA and PIPA do not fit the bill.
“It is increasingly clear that bills causing collateral damage to innovation in the guise of fighting piracy are not politically viable. Now that unreasonable solutions to piracy have been shown not to work, it is time to explore reasonable ones. We urge policymakers to join CEA in support of the OPEN Act — a bicameral, bipartisan and narrowly targeted approach to fighting foreign “rogue websites.”
Paul Hortenstine, Motion Picture Association of America, which supports the bills:
The legislation targets criminals: foreign thieves who profit from pirated content and counterfeit goods. These foreign rogue websites are operating freely today while legitimate American businesses are opposing legislation that would block these criminal websites from the American market.
The Pirate Bay, a site that links visitors to pirated content and would arguably fit someone’s definition of “foreign rogue Web site”:
SOPA can’t do anything to stop TPB. Worst case we’ll change top level domain from our current .org to one of the hundreds of other names that we already also use. In countries where TPB is blocked, China and Saudi Arabia springs to mind, they block hundreds of our domain names. And did it work? Not really.
To fix the “problem of piracy” one should go to the source of the problem. The entertainment industry say they’re creating “culture” but what they really do is stuff like selling overpriced plushy dolls and making 11 year old girls become anorexic. Either from working in the factories that creates the dolls for basically no salary or by watching movies and tv shows that make them think that they’re fat.