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June 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The PROTECT IP Act, a proposed law strongly supported by the movie industry and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that would in effect blacklist “rogue” websites suspected of copyright infringement by blocking them from DNS servers and search engines, has run into strong opposition from a group of high-tech entrepreneurs and investors. In a letter to Congress, the group, which includes dozens of Silicon Valley investors and Internet heavyweights including Netscape founder Marc Andreessen and publisher Tim O’Reilly, warned that the proposed law “will stifle investment in Internet services, throttle innovation, and hurt American competitiveness.” The law, which was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, would, among other things, allow rights holders to order ISPs to block access to offending websites “with limited oversight and due process,” the letter complained. “Rights-holders have stated their interest in this private right of action because they worry that the Department of Justice will not have enough resources to initiate actions against all of the infringing sites. Yet, why should costs be shifted to innocent Internet entrepreneurs, most of whom have budgets smaller than the Department of Justice’s?” The letter observes that the Internet is replete with websites that have found workable models for legally selling copyrighted material. “Pirate web sites will always exist,” the letter concluded, “but if rights holders make it easy to get their works through innovative Internet models, they can and will have bright futures.”