When it comes to something so very important as the two proposed pieces of legislation PROTECT IP Act and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), you'd be surprised how little the vast majority of the people voting on whether or not they are passed into law know what their actions may do to the internet and the greater world at large - thats why when "An open letter to Washington" came across our desk, it came as no surprise. What this letter contains is a very brief and to the point set of paragraphs and bullet points rallying against the two acts in question, signed at the bottom by a set of internet-based business heads that would make Al Gore shake in his shoes. Everyone from founders of eBay to Google to the Internet Archive are listed here, and we'd suggest that the recipients of this letter lend an open ear.
What the signees of this letter suggest is that everyone who will vote upon these acts heed their words, they being people fortunate enough to have been able to freely found Internet companies and nonprofits "in a regulatory climate that promotes entrepreneurship, innovation, the creation of content and free expression online." They note that although they recognize that the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act were both started as "well-meaning efforts to control piracy online," they've now turned into legislation that will undermine the framework that makes the internet such a great place to start a business and express one's self online.
Points this group of leaders have raised are as follows:
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.
The list below is everyone who has signed on to the letter you'll see in the gallery below. They each "urge Congress to think hard before changing the regulation that underpins the Internet." In that they do not want to se "the next generation of entrepreneurs and founders" to not have the same opportunities they had when they started out, they'd rather these acts were not passed. Have a look, Congress - you know what to do:
Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz
Mitchell Baker, co-founder of Mozilla Firefox
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!