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Silicon Valley, Hollywood fight over anti-piracy bill

By Limi (Xinhua)

10:12, December 16, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- A group of 83 prominent Internet investors and engineers sent an open letter to members of the U.S. Congress on Thursday to voice their opposition to an anti-piracy bill which has drawn massive support from Hollywood media firms.

The bill, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), is in the process of reading and discussion on Thursday at the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

It aims to allow the U.S. Department of Justice as well as copyright holders to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement and enable them to ask search engines, Internet ad firms, online payment companies, broadband providers and domain name providers to make the offending sites invisible.

The proposed bill has set the Internet companies against the film, music and TV industry, with both sides vowing to "fight till death" with millions of dollars shed in lobbying as well as TV and newspaper ads.

The open letter from top Internet engineers said the proposals would impose technology barriers for the Internet and holds back innovations and growth in the industry.

The opposition from engineers echoes with an open letter signed by tech heavyweights including founders of Google, Twitter, PayPal, the Huffington Post, Netscape and Wikipedia. It was published as a full-page ad on Wednesday in major U.S. newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post.

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