Congress is trying to break the internet.
While I mean for the above sentence to be provocative, I’m not really indulging in hyperbole.
Please join me and my partners at Foundry Group in participating in American Censorship day tomorrow, Wednesday 11/16/11. There are two disturbing and potentially quite damaging bills making their way through Congress: the Protect IP Act (PIPA – S.968) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA – H.R.3261).
Like most legislation, neither bill actually does what their titles claim they do, and both basically amount to online censorship. These bills were fast-tracked through Congress with the support of Hollywood and Big Media, and stand a very real chance of getting passed unless members of Congress hear from their constituents.
Numerous organizations that support free speech and a free and open internet have come to oppose these bills, including the EFF, the Free Software Foundation, Public Knowledge, Demand Progress, Fight For the Future, Participatory Politics Foundation and Creative Commons. They’ve organized tomorrow’s American Censorship Day, which occurs tomorrow and will protest these bills. If you run a website or blog, check out the American Censorship site to see how you can participate.
I encourage delving into the full text of these bills, but if you lack the time (or intestinal fortitude) to wade through them, here’s a short video that summarizes the potential impact and second order effects of this truly bad legislation:
PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.
My partner Brad Feld has written a good post on this topic, as has Fred Wilson, who appropriately writes that these bills undermine the architecture of the internet and threaten to destroy the innovation and entrepreneurship occurring on the internet, one of the few bright spots in our nation’s economy, and certainly where the future lies.
Please join me and my partners in speaking out against these terrible pieces of legislation.