There was an immeasurable distance between the quick and the dead: they did not seem to belong to the same species; and it was strange to think that but a little while before they had spoken and moved and eaten and laughed - W. Somerset Maugham
SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Mozilla has returned to its arguments against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and co-signed a stinging letter in opposition along with a handful of prominent internet entrepreneurs.
Mozilla has already been frank about its opposition to the bill and turned its homepage over to arguments against SOPA as it began to crawl closer into view. Now that it is close enough to see its teeth and the whites of its eyes the organisation has made the arguments again in a letter co-signed by a number of other internet luminaries, including Sergey Brin, Reid Hoffman, Arianna Huffington and Jerry Yang.
"We urge Congress to think hard before changing the regulation that underpins the Internet. Let's not deny the next generation of entrepreneurs and founders the same opportunities that we all had," the letter said.
Unsurprisingly the letter asks that Congress acknowledge that SOPA will have nasty unintended consequences, including total monitoring of web services, uploads and downloads, which will have a chilling impact on industry and innovation and deny web site owners the right to due process of law.
Like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and its friends did this morning, Mozilla's letter also suggests that SOPA draws the US into the style of government that it usually decries when countries like China or Iran do it. SOPA could also undermine the security of the internet by changing its basic structure, they add.
The SOPA and PIPA bills look more and more likely to be adopted by the US government, and like the UK's Digital Economy Act have been criticised and condemned ever since they were first proposed.
We don't know who the US Congress might listen to with arguments against these bills, but this salvo, and the one from the EFF, do have some rather important people behind them.
Mozilla's letter is signed by a who's who of the internet, including Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales, Twitter's Biz Stone, Chad Hurley, the co founder of Youtube, and Mark Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape, while the letter from the EFF is undersigned by just about everyone who ever did anything important during the creation of the internet.
We can't help but think that if the US Congress won't heed the warnings of all these serious, knowledgeable people, it will deserve what it gets. µ
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