Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) sparks backlash from Facebook, Google
Some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names are threatening to leave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over a bill that would make Web companies liable for pirated content that appears on their sites.
Last month, Yahoo quietly quit the powerful business trade group, which supports the legislation. Google and the Consumer Electronics Association, which represents 2,200 firms, are warning they may do the same.
“Given the fact that their mission is to grow the American economy, sponsoring legislation that would harm one sector that is perhaps the brightest spot of the economy is short-sighted,” said CEA senior vice president Michael Petricone. “It makes one wonder what their membership will be like in the future.”
When asked whether CEA would drop its membership, he replied: “We are comfortably reassessing groups we are members of.”
Spats between the Chamber and its members rarely spill out into public view. And it’s unclear how an exodus of technology firms would impact the lobbying group’s considerable weight in Washington. The group does not disclose the names of its members, many of whom pay substantial amounts for the Chamber’s lobbying prowess.
The legislation could punish Web firms if copyrighted movies, songs or software appear on their sites. But it would address long-standing concerns from Hollywood studios, record labels and publishing houses, which lose $135 billion in revenues each year from piracy and counterfeiting, according to Chamber estimates.