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Piracy is Bad for Business, But So is SOPA

November 11, 2011 , ,

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.