Lawmakers who back legislation that would crack down on piracy and counterfeiting on foreign websites pushed back Wednesday against critics who say that the measures could undermine the growth of new technologies and services on the Internet.
A group of artists held a competing news conference on Wednesday to voice their fears about collateral damage that the bills might cause. Supporters of the piracy legislation tried to allay their fears. …
But the legislation is generating growing concern from venture capitalists, technology firms, civil libertarians, and others who say that it may hurt the economy and innovation. These critics say that both bills are too broad and could target legitimate sites and technologies. They point to provisions in the measures that could require service providers to redirect U.S. Internet users away from websites determined to be engaged in piracy or counterfeiting.
During a separate briefing with reporters on Wednesday, Casey Rae-Hunter, a musician and deputy director of the Future of Music Coalition, voiced his concerns with the online-piracy legislation. He said he uses cyberlockers, a third-party file-sharing service, to store his music. Rae-Hunter worries that because pirates might store content using cyberlockers, the service could be shut down by the legislation.
“It’s a scorched-earth policy that doesn’t necessarily target what you want but causes a lot of collateral damage,” said Paul Schatzkin, a Nashville-based entrepreneur and the founder of the first online music store, songs.com, who also spoke at the briefing.
He and Rae-Hunter were part of a group of artists who were in Washington on Wednesday to lobby against the anti-piracy bills in both chambers.