Nine giants of the Internet — Google, eBAy, AOL, Facebook, Yahoo, Zynga, LinkedIn, Mozilla and Twitter — placed a full-page ad in The New York Times as part of their efforts to fight back against the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) and the “PROTECT IP Act.”
Update: A Google spokesperson has just informed us that, in addition to The New York Times, this ad ran in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and the Washington Times.
These pieces of legislation, which have strong bipartisan support in Congress, as well as backing from the Motion Picture Association of America, a variety of Hollywood union organizations, and even Master Card and Pfizer, would require technology companies and Internet service providers to block access to any website that the entertainment industry believes “engages in, enables or facilitates” copyright infringement. In essence, these bills, if they become law, would allow for broad Internet censorship. And companies like those listed above would be required by law to do the censoring.
While those who wish for greater ways to fight copyright infringement say the legislation is good and necessary, opponents — who stretch far and wide — say the legislation will stifle innovation online by changing the entire nature of the Internet as we know it, and further warn that this could be the beginning of the “Great Firewall of America.”