Series of PIPAs
Earlier today, Amanda Peyton (Y Combinator alum, Makery/Bnter resident and local Woman About Tech) posted a transcript of a conversation she had with a rep for Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who used “the c-word” in reference to the Protect IP Act, the Senate version of the Stop Online Piracy Act. “Censorship,” that is.
Both Ms. Peyton and Betabeat (we picked up the story) received calls from energetic staffers, eager to run, not just walk, the quote back. “It is absurd to suggest that Sen. Schumer, who led the charge against the assault on net neutrality, would support censoring the Internet; he unequivocally does not,” said Mike Morey, a spokesman for Sen. Schumer’s office.
Staffers from Sen. Schumer’s office got on the phone with Betabeat late Friday to go into more detail on the senator’s position on the bill, which they said had first been presented by a coalition of representatives from different industries more than a year ago. The industries represented including pharmaceutical companies, apparel manufacturers and more, in addition to the purveyors of movies and music who have emerged as the evil villains in the internet’s backlash against the legislation.
Guess Alexis Ohanian and Brad Burnham won’t be going to Washington after all. Rep. Lamar Smith, one of the co-sponsors of the Stop Online Piracy Act, just announced that the bill “will no longer include a provision that would require ISPs to block access to overseas web sites accused of piracy,” according to CNET.
The announcement comes a week before Mr. Ohanian and Mr. Burnham were scheduled to appear before the committee to talk about the issues raised by the bill’s provisions for DNS and search engine blocking.
Can the Internet Save the Internet
In the last week, GoDaddy has rescinded its support for the Stop Online Piracy Act, announced its opposition to the bill’s Senate companion Protect IP Act, and had itself taken off Congress’s list of SOPA supporters. “We have observed a spike in domain name transfers, which are running above normal rates and which we attribute to GoDaddy’s prior support for SOPA, which was reversed,” CEO Warrn Adelman said in a statement released yesterday. “GoDaddy opposes SOPA because the legislation has not fulfilled its basic requirement to build a consensus among stake-holders in the technology and Internet communities. Our company regrets the loss of any of our customers, who remain our highest priority, and we hope to repair those relationships and win back their business over time.”
For the last couple of weeks venture capitalists and startup founders have been raising the alarm over new anti-piracy legislation making its way through Congress that would fundamentally endanger the functioning of a free internet.
Betabeat chatted with Fred Wilson yesterday, who said that this fight is part of a broader attempt to protect the innovation economy. “I hope that that big tech companies see that and join us in making our voice heard on this issue.”
Mr. Wilson and his partner Brad Burnham went down to D.C. to put in facetime with politicians. “We’re at a disadvantage here. The entertainment industry is a lot older, more mature, with deeper influence in Washington.”
The best chance for the tech industry? Getting the word out through those powerful online networks. “We’re hoping the internet can save the internet,” Mr. Wilson said.
Well, consider the call answered. Today, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla Corp, Twitter, Yahoo! and Zynga all signed on to a letter to Congress opposing SOPA: