Piracy is Bad for Business, But So is SOPA

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is meant to promote “prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property.”  According to the proponents of SOPA, such as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (through its affiliate FightOnlineTheft.com), the bill would save jobs stolen by online piracy.  But the tech industry, one of the U.S.’s largest job creators, is speaking out against SOPA (and also against its form in the Senate, PIPA).  Why?  Because contrary to SOPA’s stated purpose, they believe the bills will harm their ability to do business, effectively limiting jobs and innovation in the technology industries.

David Ulevich, the CEO of OpenDNS, a widely used DNS and internet security company, penned an open letter to Congress encouraging them to reject SOPA and PIPA.  In his letter he expresses major concerns about overbreadth and censorship, and states that had SOPA been law when he started his company, he “would have incorporated outside of the United States and all of the jobs and investment [he has] put into the economy would have been taken elsewhere.”

Google and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), both representing a huge number of jobs, are both considering leaving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over their disagreement with the Chamber over the bills.  Google’s Vint Cerf has stated that PIPA and SOPA “won’t solve the problem” they purport to address.  Yahoo has already left the Chamber, assumedly over the Chamber’s support of PIPA.

The Save Hosting Coalition, a group formed to represent web hosting companies, has said that PIPA would “slow the Internet economy in the United States, as we see innovators and business leaders leave our shores.”

NetCoalition, along with the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and the CEA, sent a letter to the House of Representatives opposing SOPA, saying that it would “[impose] significant costs on small businesses” and “introduce serious security risks to our communications infrastructure and the critical national infrastructure that depends on it.”

Technological entrepreneurship represents a vital part of the United States economy, and has great potential for innovation and job growth.  When the job creators are standing up against these bills, some serious reevaluation is in order.

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