Big Media Pushes Congress For a New Law: Does the "Protect IP" Act Threaten the Internet?

Google chairman Eric Schmidt opposes a new law that is working its way through Congress. This new law has been dubbed the "Protect IP" act by its backers - who include the big motion picture companies and their lobbying arm, the MPAA.

The studios and the MPAA do not have a good record when it comes to predicting the future of the motion picture business. For example, back in the early 1980s the MPAA lobbied hard (and almost succeeded) in banning home video machines because of the threat they posed to owners of "intellectual property."

Many of the big content owner arguments in favor of the "Protect IP" rules are reminiscent of the silly claims made by the MPAA back in the 80s and 90s (e.g., comparing the threat to the American public from home video to the threat the "Boston strangler [posed] to the woman home alone").

On the other side of the "Protect IP" fight are industry leaders like Google's Eric Schmidt, who predict that the new law would be a disaster for free speech. According to Schmidt, the proposed measures in the new law are overly simple solutions to a complex problem that would actually make the web less searchable and free.

I tend to agree with Eric Schmidt, the EFF and other free speech advocates, who see the Protect IP Act as a real threat to Internet freedom. What do you think?

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Randy Finch's Film Blog:

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