It’s do or die for the technology industry and Hollywood, as the two forces face off at the peak of the the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) saga. The bill that could give the U.S. government authority to censor the Internet is set to be further evaluated on Friday by the House Judiciary Committee of Congress. Live coverage of the SOPA reading can be seen here.
According to the Center For Responsive Politics, film, music, and television companies have spent more than $91m in lobbying for approval of the bill. Among the media giants pushing to get SOPA passed into law are Disney, News Corp, the NFL, Time Warner, Sony and Viacom.
“Every day, internet criminals use illegal foreign websites to steal from New York companies and hard-working Americans,” they wrote in an open letter published in major media outlets. “These illegal foreign websites are destroying American jobs and causing billions in lost revenue.”
Meanwhile, opponents of SOPA are standing their ground. A letter signed by AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo! and Zynga stated:
“Unfortunately, the bill as drafted would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities, private rights of action, and technology mandates that would require monitoring of web sites. 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. We cannot support these bills as written and ask that you consider more targeted ways to combat foreign ‘rogue’ websites dedicated to copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting, while preserving the innovation and dynamism that has made the Internet such an important driver of economic growth and job creation.”
If SOPA is passed, millions of people will lose their jobs, and free speech, which is currently under attack in the U.S., will be put in total jeopardy.