The chilling Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), drafted by Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, would have catastrophic affects on how you use the web and who (namely the U.S. government) controls it. Think China, Malaysia, or Iran. SOPA also represents another reality-estranged attempt from "Hollywood, the Recording Industry Association of America, and their allies to counter what they claim to be rampant piracy online, especially from offshore sites such as ThePirateBay.org," notes CNET. The act would essentially let the Justice Department make any "allegedly piratical Web sites virtually vanish from the Internet."
Now Silicon Valley's most prominent leaders and thinkers are taking action against SOPA. Treasured Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, PayPal co-founder Elon Musk, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yan, as well as a slew of others put their name on an open letter warning people against SOPA.
The 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!
Said letter will appear in The New York Times and other major publications.
In November, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, eBay, Mozilla, Yahoo, AOL, and LinkedIn helped pen a letter to cetain members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, stating that SOPA would be "a serious risk to our industry's continued track record of innovation and job creation, as well as to our nation's cybersecurity."