SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, is a controversial bill giving the government the option to block websites. Internet freedom advocacy group the Electronic Freedom Foundation calls it an “unconstitutional online blacklist”. It’s been decried as marking the end of the truly free and open internet. Because their livelihoods have depended on the internet being the way it has been since its inception, heads of major Silicon Valley companies have signed a letter condemning this piece of legislature. The full letter reads:
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 U.S. 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!
Anyone who regularly uses the internet and who values the freedom of expression granted by the information age owes it to themselves to read up on SOPA.