On Wed, Jan 18, Mozilla will demonstrate our opposition to PIPA/SOPA by blacking out key Mozilla websites. While we generally support the end goal of the legislation – to limit online piracy of legitimate content – we believe that both PIPA and SOPA, in their current drafts, have serious flaws in the proposed implementation of the legislation. Among them is the requirement for online service and content providers to police the system. This would create an undue burden on businesses that were not designed for this purpose, would require more lawyers to be involved, and would extend the hand of government much deeper into these organizations. All of this would spread a chilling effect across the Web that would significantly limit innovation, which has implications for all of us. More alarming is the reality that sites could be taken down based solely on the mere suspicion of illegal content, not based on the ruling of a body of legal authority. The lack of due process is a serious flaw, a threat to each of our rights as citizens, and simply should not be accepted. Mitchell Baker, Mozilla Chairwoman has a comprehensive post outlining our stance on PIPA/SOPA.
We can find a solution. Mozilla has been part of this discussion from the beginning. Several months ago, I went to the White House to discuss alternative approaches to combating online piracy and addressing the specific problems raised by the content industry. What became very clear is that we are not going to solve this problem with more government regulations. We need all parties to come to the table and find solutions that remedy the situation without bypassing due process. We’re not in support of the suppression of free speech. We are in support of working with the content industry to solve the problem.
What is unique for us at Mozilla is that our only commitment is to all of us as Internet users who rely on an open Web where content, imagination, and innovation can thrive. We are not motivated by anything other than what’s good for the Internet. We don’t have a commercial stake in whether SOPA passes. We don’t answer to shareholders, or government agencies, or powerful unions. Our only motivation is to do what’s right for the Web. That is why we are taking a stand. We hope the blacked out Mozilla websites got your attention. Now that you’re paying attention, we’d like you to act. For more information about how you can get involved, please click here.