###FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE###
Contact: David Moon, [email protected]
HOUSE OF REPRESNTATIVES LAUNCHING ASSAULT ON
TWITTER AND YOUTUBE THIS WEEK
Demand Progress asks Americans to urge lawmakers NOT TO cosponsor legislation
Washington, DC: Internet Freedom and civil liberty advocates on Capitol Hill are expecting members of the House of Representatives to introduce sweeping Internet legislation this week — which could go so far as to force sites like Twitter and YouTube to shut down or drastically change their business models.
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Lamar Smith (R-TX) and others are expected to introduce a companion bill to Senator Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) PROTECT IP Act. But staffers, lobbyists, and activists with knowledge of the legislation say the new bill goes far further.
In particular, it creates new legal liabilities for sites like Twitter, YouTube, and others that rely on user-generated content — exposing the sites’ proprietors to prosecustion for certain acts taken by their users.
Demand Progress — a civil liberties and Internet freedom activist group with more than 500,000 members — urges Americans to ask their Congressmembers to not cosponsor the legislation. They may do so using the group’s automated email-your-lawmaker function, here:
Said executive director David Segal, “Our organization will oppose this bill if it looks anything like PROTECT IP. But we ask even those lawmakers who are leaning towards supporting it to hold back for now, decline cosponsorship, and listen to opponents’ concerns.” He continued, “The Senate version of PROTECT IP will stifle free speech and innovation — and all indications are that the House version will be even worse.”
The Senate version of the bill — the PROTECT IP Act — would give the government new powers to block Americans’ access to sites accused of copyright infringment. It has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, and is currently being blocked by a ‘hold’ placed on it by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). Opponents of the bill include civil liberties groups, tech start-ups, venture capitalists, libertarian Republicans, and even the Tea Party Patriots.