Geeks rise up to fight against “Stop Online Piracy Act”/PIPA

While we already know the Attorney General Holder is busy boot licking for Hollywood and the recording industry, the geeks are another story. Microsoft has backed off of its earlier support for the poorly-named “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA), as have others in the tech industry such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo!. Most in the tech industry are not against stopping illegal abuse of IP, they’re against the model used in the current legislation.

The Chamber of Commerce continues to alienate business with their robust support of the legislation that Hollywood wants, thus missing out on support by the faster growing tech industry. It’s an interesting business model over there at the Chamber and one you don’t usually see. Let’s call it “How to piss off your biggest potential customers and alienate everyone else along the way.” What fool really wants someone like the Chamber promoting their business when they can’t even see the damage that they’re causing within what should be one of its largest customers?

Steve Tepp, an intellectual property attorney at the Chamber, has become one of SOPA’s most ardent defenders. He’s written that SOPA’s critics intentionally “mislead and scare people to make their point” and peddle “hyperbole.” In a snarky blog post before Halloween, he said that anti-SOPA types are “unpacking all their favorite ghouls and hobgoblins” and making “extreme and absurd claims.”

In another post, Tepp said that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce “will always stand” on the “side of American businesses”–an odd statement given that the list of businesses opposed to SOPA includes eBay, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, AOL, Zynga, and many other technology companies. (See CNET’s FAQ and our previous coverage of security concerns.)

Yahoo recently quit the Chamber to protest its copyright position, while Google and the Consumer Electronics Association, which represents 2,200 companies, are considering following suit, the Washington Post reported. Both the Chamber and Google have confirmed to CNET that the search company remains a member; a new campaign funded in part by MoveOn.org seeks to convince Google to change its mind and leave.

Let’s not forget that the US Chamber of Commerce is incredibly anti-gay and anti-trans as well. They’ve actually gotten gay and trans rights laws repealed. There is no excuse for any American business being a member of any organization that is pro-discrimination.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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