Internet Giants Tells US Not To Follow Malayia

15 December 2011

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Malaysiakini

The founders of Google, Twitter, Yahoo! eBay and other Internet giants expressed concern to the US Congress over legislation intended to crack down on online piracy.

They warned that the proposed legislation will give Washington the power to censor the Internet, much like that employed by China, Malaysia and Iran.

The Stop Online Piracy Act has received some bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and is the House version of a bill introduced in the Senate known as the Theft of Intellectual Property Act, or Protect IP Act.

The legislation has received the backing of Hollywood, the music industry, the Business Software Alliance, the National Association of Manufacturers, the US Chamber of Commerce and other groups.

But it has come under fire from digital rights and free speech organisations for allegedly paving the way for US authorities to shut down websites, including foreign sites, without due process and threatening the architecture of the Web.

The founders of the leading Internet companies added their voices to the chorus of opposition against the bills in an open letter to Congress published Wednesday in several US newspapers, including The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

“We’ve all had the good fortune to found Internet companies and nonprofits in a regulatory climate that promotes entrepreneurship, innovation, the creation of content and free expression online,” they said in the letter.

“However, we’re worried that the Protect IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act – which started out as well-meaning efforts to control piracy online – will undermine that framework,” they said.

The legislation threatens to “require Web services, like the ones we helped found, to monitor what users link to, or upload,” they said, warning that this would have a “chilling effect on innovation.”

Deny right of due process

They said the bills would also “deny website owners the right to due process” and “give the US government the power to censor the Web using techniques similar to those used by China, Malaysia and Iran.”

“We urge Congress to think hard before changing the regulation that underpins the Internet,” they said. “Let’s not deny the next generation of entrepreneurs and founders the same opportunities that we all had.”

Signatories to the letter included Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Twitter co-founders Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams, Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake, Yahoo! co-founders David Filo and Jerry Yang, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, PayPal co-founder Elon Musk, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

– AFP
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An Open Letter to Washington

We’ve all had the good fortune to found Internet companies and nonprofits in a regulatory climate that promotes entrepreneurship, innovation, the creation of content and free expression online.

However we’re worried that the Protect IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act — which started out as well-meaning efforts to control piracy online — will undermine that framework.

These two pieces of legislation threaten to:

Require web services, like the ones we helped found, to monitor what users link to, or upload. This would have a chilling effect on innovation;

Deny website owners the right to due process of law;
Give the US government the power to censor the web using techniques similar to those used by China, Malaysia and Iran; and
Undermine security online by changing the basic structure of the Internet.

We urge Congress to think hard before changing the regulation that underpins the Internet. Let’s not deny the next generation of entrepreneurs and founders the same opportunities that we all had.

Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google
Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and Square
Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and Hunch
David Filo, co-founder of Yahoo!
Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn
Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post
Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube
Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive and co-founder of Alexa Internet
Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal
Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist
Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay
Biz Stone, co-founder of Obvious and Twitter
Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation
Evan Williams, co-founder of Blogger and Twitter
Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo!

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