Originally published: June 26, 2011
Last updated: June 26, 2011 - 1:40pm
The tech community has begun to marshal its forces against the Protect IP Act, a bill aimed at shutting down rogue websites. Some 50 venture capitalists fired off a letter to members of Congress in which they charge that the act, which has already been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, would "chill investment in the Internet, throttle innovation, and hurt American competitiveness."
"The bill is ripe for abuse, as it allows rights holders to require third parties to block access and take away revenue sources for online services, with limited oversight and due process," wrote Brad Burnham of Union Square Ventures, which has funded Internet companies such as Twitter, Foursquare, Boxee, Kickstarter, Clickable, and Zynga. His letter was signed by 53 other venture capitalists representing 40 firms, including AOL Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and EDventure Holdings.
The Motion Picture Association of America is striking back, hard, against the venture capitalists and their letter. "We can’t keep being asked to choose between technology and creativity, and we can’t stand by as criminals profit from the hard work of the millions of American men and women of the creative and entertainment industry," Michael O'Leary, the MPAA's executive vice president for government affairs, said in a statement. "This is a smart, narrowly-crafted bill whose purpose is stopping theft, not slowing innovation. All we’re asking is that the innovators play by the rules.”
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