Facebook, Twitter, and Google Ask Hollywood to Stop Trying to Revive SOPA

A group of major tech companies are challenging a bill they say is similar to the controversial piracy act.

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Aug 11 2015, 4:58pm

Image: Wikimedia Commons

A recent effort to crack down on pirating sites that bears a striking resemblance to SOPA, a controversial anti piracy bill shot down in 2012, has drawn backlash from major tech companies Facebook, Google, Twitter, Tumblr, and Yahoo.

Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), a collective of six major Hollywood studios, previously filed an injunction that would require hosting sites to stop links to MovieTube, an online streaming site, and affiliated sites.

In response, these tech companies collectively submitted an amicus brief Monday asking a New York federal court to leave neutral service providers out of the injunction. In the brief, the companies called the bill "breathtakingly broad."

"It is no exaggeration to say that such an injunction would bind the entire Internet," they wrote.

The companies said the measures essentially constitute a revival of SOPA, which would have also allowed courts to stop companies from doing business with websites based on claims of copyright infringement.

"This legislation failed in 2012 after a public outcry about the dangers it posed to a free and open Internet," the brief said. "This recent history should make courts wary about efforts to circumvent the legislative process to obtain nearly identical relief through an expansive and erroneous reading of the existing legal authorities."

The group of companies requested the court limit broad injunctions like these, saying they are at odds with DMCA laws already enacted by Congress to protect copyright holders.

"The DMCA expresses Congress's intention that concerns about infringement on the Internet be resolved primarily through voluntary cooperation between service providers and copyright owners, not by broad court orders issued against the entire Internet without notice," the companies wrote.

Like SOPA, the bill could have broad implications for internet freedom. Mitch Stoltz, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Ars Technica earlier this month it would give movie studios "a scary amount of power."

"If orders like this become the norm, Internet companies large and small will have to build infrastructure resembling the Great Firewall of China in order to comply," he said.