VC Firms Testify Against Antipiracy Legislation

A number of venture capital firms and individuals have sent an open letter to Congress, asking the legislative body not to support the PROTECT IP (aka Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011, aka PIPA) bill. PIPA is a re-write of an earier bill, COICA, and is designed to give the US DOJ the power to seize a non-US website that breaks US law concerning copyrights.

It states: "The Protect IP Act says that an "information location tool shall take technically feasible and reasonable measures, as expeditiously as possible, to remove or disable access to the Internet site associated with the domain name set forth in the order". In addition, it must delete all hyperlinks to the offending "Internet site." Domain name servers woud be required to de-link an offending site, as would search engines. The result would leave a website only accessible via IP address.

The Internet, in visualized, artistic form

Ironically, the letter leans heavily on the DMCA, which it describes as creating "legal certainty and predictabiity for online services." PIPA, in contrast, "would undermine the delicate balance of the DMCA and threaten legitimate innovation. The bill is ripe for abuse, as it allows rights-holders to require third-parties to block access to and take away revenue sources for online services, with limited oversight and due process."

The document continues:
While we understand PIPA was originally intended to deal with "rogue" foreign sites, we think PIPA will ultimately put American innovators and investors at a clear disadvantage in the global economy... [S]ervices dedicated to infringement will simply make their sites easy to find and access in other ways, and determined users who want to find blocked content will simply shift to services outside the reach of US law, in turn giving a leg up to foreign search engines [and] DNS providers.

Second, PIPA creates a dangerous precedent and a convenient excuse for countries to engage in protectionism and censorship against US services. These countries will point to PIPA as precedent for taking action against US technology and Internet services.
No kidding. Some of you may remember the furor that erupted several years ago over the United States' alleged 'ownership' of the Internet. The US continues to hold primary approval power to any proposed changes to the DNS root zone--PIPA, if passed, would almost certainly be seen as an attempt to project US interests, legal power, and control over the international online community. There's a difference between maintaining a certain degree of administrative control over the 'Net and giving the DOJ carte blanche to effectively blacklist a site from existence.

The MPAA casts the issue differently. According to it, PROTECT IP is meant to stop "rampant theft of American-made movies, TV shows, and other content by foreign illegal websites..." Absent from the discussion, however, is any consideration of whether we should work in cooperation with the legal bodies in those dastardly foreign nations. The alternative--letting those darn Canadians get away with our precious bodily fluids films--is unthinkable.
Via:  BlueNC
AKwyn 3 years ago

Man. While the law does sound like it'll work, I think otherwise. We are living in the digital age where we can download music and movies but I guess after the RIAA and the MPAA saw that they weren't making as much as they did, decided to blame everything on pirates and try to take control of everything.

This endevor is harming everybody trying to make a legitimate living. So what if we use some copyrighted scenes or a copyrighted piece of music, does that mean we're stealing? does that mean we're using taking from the profits of a video that wasn't made to gain profits in the first place? They're trying to blur the line of what's fair use and what's not that sooner or later, we'll have to pay a monthly fee to use these works in our own works.

They're right when they say that innovation will be harmed due to this bill. The US (if this bill passes) will have the power to remove any site in existence, despite free speech rights. Want to spread your opinions on the current administation? want to start up a joint venture that may or may not work? You're going to have to worry about whether the US Government will shut down your site, and I thought this was a free country?

Again, PIPA sounds like a good idea but the consequences for it will be deadly... I guess we'll have to wait and see on this one.

ImmersionLabs 3 years ago

TaylorKarras, by your logic, if someone leaves their car running, then you have the right to hop in and take it.

Your logic fails a second when you say you are just making an "honest living" by using other people's work? First off, you admit to profiting from the work of others, and second, have the audacity to say this constitutes honest work?

Step away from the bong.

omegadraco 3 years ago

This does not surprise me at all and It also would not surprise me if the bill passes. The RIAA and MPAA have a good majority of the politicians in their pocket.

I agree completely with what you are saying Taylor and hope this bill does not even come close to passing. The internet is not meant to be controlled in this manner by one country.

inspector 3 years ago

Theres just no more freedom in the world. Everything comes down to the government... I think its time to use our rights to an uprising... lol

Manduh 3 years ago

hmmm anybody know piratebay's IP addresses So I can bookmark them BEFORE this (if it does) goes into effect??

jonation 3 years ago

i just like to have it so no one has that authority online.

3vi1 3 years ago

>> Domain name servers woud be required to de-link an offending site, as would search engines. The result would leave a website only accessible via IP address.

Fifteen seconds until a new non-US-centric DNS authority becomes the defacto-standard.

The very fact that the MPAA has the money to bankroll the lobbyist on this means they've been lying about every movie "breaking even" or losing money. They are a MAFIAA.

ImmersionLabs 3 years ago

Get with the program.  Most offending sites aren't even on servers located in the U.S.

Establishing a precedent gives leverage to other countries to follow suit.  Sure, you will still have places like Russia, India and China who will not go along but they can be isolated in other ways.  If they choose to marginalize themselves, then they get what they deserve.

rrplay 3 years ago

This remains a free country as long as you have all the eggs in your basket,all the lobbyists,courts,and cash in your pocket, & Be a card carrying member of the club that controls it all.

I consider it all getting to be plain censorship, nothing vague about that, until the info is no longer available,restricted because it conflicts with the interest of those that hold all the cards.

Quipped a few times over the last several years as to "What province of North Korea am I living in ?"

geez ! ...and the brainwashing continues.

infinityzen1 3 years ago

If this law passes, the US will lose all control of the internet. Everyone will move all their internet based services overseas and no one will use US DNS servers anymore.

The MPAA and RIAA both need to cease to exist.

Joel H 3 years ago


The MPAA has an extremely complex accounting method it uses for each film. I don't trust myself to explain it, but it's darned creative.

ImmersionLabs 3 years ago

I see plenty of parasites wanting free stuff at all costs. I don't see a free Hummer sitting in my driveway, my driveway isn't connected to my free house. Do you want to be spoon-fed your existence? Life is hard. The challenge is what makes it worth living.

Having had our IP stolen millions of times, I speak from a position of having been there. These VC's who think, that's THINK, IP should be "open source," have ulterior motives. I would wager it has more to do with getting access to IP for their portfolio companies and not having to pay for that access.

Not only do I support stricter protections on IP, but I also strongly support raising the threshold for VC status from $1M (USD) to $10M per person and $100M per firm.

Now, some of you have stated that IP can't be protected. While true to an extent, it is possible for developers such as myself to protect our IP from being stolen by proactively offering malware versions of our digital products on third-party websites. Hey, you want to steal the hard work of others, then you take your chances while doing so. If, for example, you want to steal my work and your phone quit working, who is to blame?

BTW, ALL iPhone apps are free. All you have to do is google the app's name and "ipa." There are thousands of sites dedicated to ripping off IP. For this reason, my company will never again develop apps for older devices. We are not alone in taking this stance either.

You freefers, that's griefers who steal IP, don't care about the consequences. Well, when there are no more apps, then you will care.. no, wait, you won't care then either because you'll be parasiting off of some other digital format.

Theft is theft, no matter how you want to justify it.

Joel H 3 years ago

Did you read the article? This isn't about protecting IP--it's about an improper attempt to extend US jurisprudence in a manner that will actually make it more difficult to prevent theft/infringement.

You sound as if you read the words "Protect IP" and suffered a fit of nerdrage. Speaking personally, I think Protect IP is a terrible idea not because I disagree with its goals, but because I think its methods are virtually guaranteed to backfire. Assuming that people who disagree with a given methodoogy therefore disagree with a stated goal is a logical fallacy.

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