Updated 01/18/2012 09:29 PM
Group Blasts NY Lawmakers' Support Of Anti-Piracy Bills
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Hundreds of technicians, Internet activists and website users gathered outside the Midtown offices of Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand Wednesday to voice their opposition to two pieces of legislation that they say will hinder the free flow of information on the Web.
They say as written, the anti-online piracy bills being considered by Congress will kill free speech on the Internet and seriously damage investment there.
“They will cause entrepreneurs and investors to think twice about the legal entanglements that could occur if these two bills pass,” say Andrew Rasiej of the New York Tech Meetup.
Media companies say they need protection from online piracy, but critics warn passage would encourage widespread censorship and radically change the Web as we know it.
“A single government official would have the authority to take down a site that was deemed to host infringing material, and that's without due process,” said David Moore of the Participatory Politics Foundation.
As for everyday folks who heard or saw that some sites had shut down for 24 hours to protest the bills, many applauded, but some said something has to be done to protect ideas and products from piracy.
“There are people out there doing that pirate stuff. They should be going after those guys,” said one resident.
“We have a big variety of technology and now they're trying to limit everything. It's ridiculous,” said another.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who’s had a fair share of experience running a large media company, said he sees both sides.
"If you make a threatening call over the telephone, going after the telephone company's not something that makes some sense. Having said that, I'm very sensitive to the people who create the contract. People who create something deserve to get the fruits of — however you want to phrase it, get compensated for it,” said Bloomberg.
Senators Schumer and Gillibrand say they are still tweaking the legislation to meet concerns of supporters and opponents.
Former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd, who is now the CEO of the Motion Picture Associate of America, shot back at the day's website blackouts, calling them a "PR stunt," "irresponsible" and "an abuse of power."