Facebook Joins Internet Giants Endorsing Piracy Bill

Facebook and seven major online companies have endorsed an alternative online piracy bill that they believe would keep the Internet open and foster innovation.

The Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade, or OPEN Act, is co-sponsored by Republican Representative Darrell Issa of California and Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon.

The legislation is an alternative to the Stop Online Piracy Act, and its counterpart, Protect IP.

Facebook and other oppenents of SOPA claim it would restrict the Internet in ways that would not only result in censorship but also create information monopolies.

Web firms oppose the provisions in SOPA that would require search engines and other sites to delete links to sites deemed to be “dedicated” to copyright infringement.

The online community argues such a requirement would result in censorship of the web, according to the political newspaper, The Hill.

The OPEN Act has the backing of Facebook and such Internet heavyweights as AOL, eBay, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo and Zynga, which together co-signed a letter to legislators late last month.

The letter states that the OPEN Act’s “approach targets foreign rogue sites without inflicting collateral damage on legitimate, law-abiding U.S. Internet companies by bringing well-established international trade remedies to bear on this problem.”

In a news release introducing the OPEN Act, Senator Wyden and Representative Issa claim that the proposal “fights the unauthorized sale of digital goods and protects Internet security, commerce and speech.”

The graphic below, taken from the OPEN Act’s website, compares the major piracy bills.

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