The promoters of the Stop Online Privacy Act (Sopa) are pretending that it would save jobs and help the economy.
But it would actually destroy jobs and hurt the economy.
No one is going to invest in the next Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Reddit, or YouTube if they know that websites can be shut down after a single unsubstantiated copyright complaint.
The only sector of our economy that’s in good shape is web technology (for example, Google is hiring like crazy right now). Sopa would put a huge dent in the web sector and destroy jobs.
Venture capitalist Fred Wilson notes:
Big companies . . . can afford to defend themselves from litigious content companies. But three person startups cannot. And Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were three person startups not so long ago. If they had not had the protection of the safe harbors of the DMCA, they could have been litigated out of business before they even had a chance to grow and develop into the powerhouses they have become. And venture capitalists will think more than twice about putting $3mm of early stage capital into startups if they know that the vast majority of the funds will go to pay lawyers to defend the companies instead of to hire engineers to create and build product.
A group of well-known law professors say:
SOPA is a dangerous bill. It threatens the most vibrant sector of our economy – Internet commerce. It is directly at odds with the United States’ foreign policy of Internet openness, a fact that repressive regimes will seize upon to justify their censorship of the Internet. And it violates the First Amendment.
Vice President Joe Biden admits:
The digital marketplace of ideas that welcomes every blog and tweet is the same one that inspires the next generation of innovators to fuel our economies. And when businesses consider investing in a country with a poor record on Internet freedom, and they know that their website could be shut down suddenly, their transactions monitored, their staffs harassed, they’ll look for opportunities elsewhere.
The Hill points out:
SOPA is the equivalent of curing a headache with a guillotine. It ... would shut down our economy and unconstitutionally erode our most basic freedoms in the process.
Edward J. Black – President and CEO of the Computer and Communications Industry Association – says:
The … legislation will also threaten the growth of the most economically dynamic and technologically innovative sector of the U.S. economy.
From an economic standpoint, the proposed legislation promises to saddle one of the U.S.’s most internationally competitive economic sectors with significant legal risk and a massive number of lawsuits — seriously hampering growth of and investment.
SOPA, regrettably, represents a big step backward in Washington’s efforts to support the digital revolution, one of the only sectors of the economy that continues to grow.
A group of high-powered Internet leaders note:
We are concerned that these measures pose a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job-creation, as well as to our Nation’s cybersecurity.
David Ulevitch – CEO of OpenDNS – points out:
If passed, they will be devastating to the growth of the Internet economy in the United States, will take jobs overseas and will have a chilling effect on innovation.
Andrew Lee – CEO of ESET North America – writes:
This legislation, if passed as currently written, would have a chilling effect on the economy of the United States.
The San Jose Mercury News editorializes:
There are times when Silicon Valley really can help you understand the complexities of legislation that will affect the tech industry – and the world economy. The raging debate over the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act is one of those times. . . . It’s not just the future of the industry that’s at stake here. It’s national security.
The Atlantic argues:
Congress is considering sweeping Internet legislation that purports to target “rogue websites” with the intent of cracking down on the theft of everything from movies to songs to designer handbags. While the goal is laudable, too many innocent websites would wind up in the crosshairs. These bills (the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, in the House) would do more harm than good to cybersecurity, the Internet economy, and online free expression.
The Daily Caller writes:
The Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) — a bill currently before the House Judiciary Committee — is a threat to America’s ability to lead the Internet, and must be defeated before it has a chance to damage America’s ability to generate jobs and economic growth online.
SOPA & PIPA don’t attack the real problem, do nothing to build up the services that do solve the problem, and won’t work from a technological standpoint. And that’s just if we look at the what these bills are supposed to do.
The real fear is the massive collateral damage these bills will have to jobs, the economy and innovation.
WHY ARE UNIONS SUPPORTING IT?
The AFL-CIO, Teamsters Union, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and some other unions are supporting Sopa. Their uneducated position gives cover to the other knuckleheads still supporting the bill.
Given that Sopa would destroy jobs and the economy – and is contrary to their members’ and the nation’s interest – everyone should immediately educate the unions and pressure them to withdraw their support.