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Video: Tech companies use Internet to fight controversial Hollywood copyright bill

Video: Tech companies use Internet to fight controversial Hollywood copyright bill

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Some of the biggest technology companies in Silicon Valley asked their users to oppose SOPA. The opponents of the bill claim it could censor the Internet and cripple chances of startups growing into the next Twitter.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) might affect Internet entrepreneurs.

If the controversial Hollywood copyright bill passes, entrepreneurs worry SOPA could make it harder for startups to grow into the next Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing for SOPA on November 16. Next Media Animation sums up how Silicon Valley tech companies have banded together to oppose the bill. It's worth a watch:

The opposition to SOPA is growing strong through the viral nature of the Internet.

Tumblr users put in 87,834 calls to Congress to protect the Internet. According to Tumblr's blog:

The well-intentioned, but immensely flawed “Stop Online Piracy Act” is still in the House Judiciary Committee. The hearing was yesterday and now members will debate and bring amendments to the bill. The Committee will reconvene in a few weeks — the date has yet to be scheduled. Nothing has been brought to a final vote. Everything is still very much in play. We’ll keep you posted on what’s going on and what you can do to help. But for now, we want to thank you.

Mozilla also asked its users to stop SOPA because "a few infringing links are enough to justify censoring an entire site, blocking good content along with the bad." It's the same censorship methods used by China, Iran, and Syria, Mozilla wrote on its website, saying that if the American Internet censorship bill passes, the Internet and free speech will not be the same.

Prior to the hearing on November 16, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo!, and Zynga wrote a letter expressing their concern over SOPA in the House and the PROTECT-IP Act in the Senate. The letter said:

We are very concerned that the bills as written would seriously undermine the effective mechanism Congress enacted in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to provide a safe harbor for Internet companies that act in good faith to remove infringing content from their sites.

The letter also sited why the Internet is important to the economy:

A recent McKinsey Global Institute report found that the Internet accounts for 3.4 percent of the GDP in 13 countries the McKinsey studied, and, in the U.S., the Internet's contribution to GDP is even larger.

But according to ReadWriteWeb's reporter Scott Fulton, it's far from censorship. Fulton writes:

At the request of this reporter, Hillel I. Parness, a practicing attorney and partner with the New York-based firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, and also adjunct member of the IP faculty at Columbia University School of Law, conducted a study of the current state of both bills this week. As Parness told ReadWriteWeb today, his analysis of the bills as they are currently written indicates that federal authorities would not be given the authority or the tools they would require to request a court order to take down any Web site (the bills concentrate on sites based abroad) based on content evaluation alone.

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Boonsri Dickinson

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Boonsri Dickinson is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has written for Discover, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Nature Biotech, Technewsdaily.com, Techstartups.com and AOL. She's currently a reporter for Business Insider. She holds degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure