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Internet pioneer supports campaign against PIPA and SOPA

11 January 2012

Tim Berners-Lee, father of the worldwide web, has supported a group putting pressure on the US government over the proposed PIPA Act, which aims to impose restrictions and censorship on the internet.

Earlier this week, Berners-Lee retweeted a post against the Protect Intellectual property Act (PIPA). The retweet stated: “We need you to stand with the Internet and kill PIPA.” The post came from the interest group Demand Progress.

Speaking in May 2011, US senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who strongly opposes PIPA stated: “I understand and agree with the goal of the legislation, to protect intellectual property and combat commerce in counterfeit goods, but I am not willing to muzzle speech and stifle innovation and economic growth to achieve this objective. At the expense of legitimate commerce, PIPA’s prescription takes an overreaching approach to policing the Internet when a more balanced and targeted approach would be more effective. The collateral damage of this approach is speech, innovation and the very integrity of the Internet.”

According to Wyden, PIPA, and the related SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) would give the US government and corporations new powers to block Americans' access to sites that are accused of copyright infringement, force sites like YouTube to go to new lengths to police users' contributions, and put people in prison for streaming certain content online. Although PIPA is US legislation, it could have a profound effect on global businesses and internet sites.

This story was first published by Computer Weekly

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