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Public Knowledge-Internet Letter to Congress

Public Knowledge-Internet Letter to Congress

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Published by Public Knowledge
Approximately 70 grass-roots groups, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, human rights groups, communities of color, and Internet companies today said Congress should stop its work on intellectual property issues in the wake of massive public protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

The letter, coordinated by Public Knowledge, said, “Now is the time for Congress to take a breath, step back, and approach the issues from a fresh perspective.”
Approximately 70 grass-roots groups, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, human rights groups, communities of color, and Internet companies today said Congress should stop its work on intellectual property issues in the wake of massive public protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

The letter, coordinated by Public Knowledge, said, “Now is the time for Congress to take a breath, step back, and approach the issues from a fresh perspective.”

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Published by: Public Knowledge on Feb 06, 2012
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02/16/2012

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February 6, 2012U.S. House of RepresentativesWashington, D.C. 20515United States SenateWashington, D.C. 20510Dear Congress:We the undersigned groups align ourselves with the more than 14 million Americans who joinedus in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).Together we participated in the largest online protest in American history (currently estimated atmore than 115,000 websites) because we believe these bills would have been harmful to freespeech, innovation, cyber security, and job creation. We want to thank the Members of Congresswho shared our concerns and opposed these bills.Now is the time for Congress to take a breath, step back, and approach the issues from a freshperspective. A wide variety of important concerns have been expressed
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including views fromtechnologists, law professors, international human rights groups, venture capitalists,entrepreneurs, and above all, individual Internet users. The concerns are too fundamental andtoo numerous to be fully addressed through hasty revisions to these bills. Nor can they beaddressed by closed door negotiations among a small set of inside the-beltway stakeholders.Furthermore, Congress must determine the true extent of online infringement and, asimportantly, the economic effects of that activity, from accurate and unbiased sources, and weighthem against the economic and social costs of new copyright legislation. Congress cannotsimply accept industry estimates regarding economic and job implications of infringement given
the Government Accountability Office’s clear finding in 2010 that previous statistics and
quantitative studies on the subject have been unreliable.Finally, any future debates concerning intellectual property law in regards to the Internet mustavoid taking a narrow, single-industry perspective. Too often, Congress has focused exclusivelyon areas where some rights holders believe existing law is too weak, without also considering theways in which existing policies have undermined free speech and innovation. Some examplesinclude the year-long government seizure of a lawful music blog (dajaz1.com) and the shutdownby private litigation of a lawful startup video platform (veoh.com).
The Internet’s value to the public makes it necessary that any legislative debate in this area be
open, transparent, and sufficiently deliberative to allow the full range of interested parties tooffer input and to evaluate specific proposals. To avoid doing so would be to repeat the mistakesof SOPA and PIPA.Sincerely,

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