High tech investors slam Hollywood, blast Internet censorship bill
The battle lines over online copyright enforcement sharpened on Thursday when dozens of prominent high-tech entrepreneurs and investors signed a letter urging members of Congress to reject the PROTECT IP Act. The legislation, which has been making rapid progress through Congress in recent weeks, would establish a blacklist of “rogue sites” and compel a variety of intermediaries to block access to them. It is strongly supported by Hollywood and the recording industry.
“We think PIPA will ultimately put American innovators and investors at a clear disadvantage in the global economy,” the letter states. It praises section 512 of the DMCA, which gives online service providers a “safe harbor” from copyright liability if they promptly remove infringing materials. They warn that the PROTECT IP Act will upset the “delicate balance” embodied in this provision.
The list of signers includes a who’s who of the startup scene: Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, publisher Tim O’Reilly, and dozens of prominent angel investors and venture capitalists, both inside and outside of Silicon Valley. They write that the legislation “puts burdens on countless Internet services” that meet the legislation’s broad definition of “information location tools.” And they warn that forcing DNS providers to participate in the blacklist will undermine Internet security.