The US Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is facing opposition from a group of large internet companies. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, eBay, AOL, LinkedIn, Mozilla and Yahoo have written a joint letter to the key sponsors of the proposed legislation.

“We are very concerned that the bills as written would seriously undermine the effective mechanism Congress enacted in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) to provide a safe harbor for Internet companies that act in good faith to remove infringing content from their sites,” explains the letter. “While we work together to find additional ways to target foreign ‘rogue’ sites, we should not jeopardize a foundational structure that has worked for content owners and Internet companies alike and provides certainty to innovators with new ideas for how people create, find, discuss, and share information lawfully online.”

House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith has tried to assuage the concerns in a statement: “Claims that the Stop Online Piracy Act would limit lawful free speech on the Internet are false and misleading. This bill specifically targets websites that are dedicated to the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit material and products. It does not target the lawful activity of legitimate websites. Because this bill focuses on illegal activity, legitimate and lawful American businesses should have nothing to worry about.” The debate goes on.

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