Google said Tuesday that it will post a statement on its Web site voicing its opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act, joining a drive that will see Reddit, Wikipedia, and Boing Boing take their Web sites dark for a period of time on Jan. 18. Google’s actions will not be as dramatic as others — Reddit and Boing Boing will take their sites down for 12 hours starting at 8 a.m., while Wikipedia will black out its English content for 24 hours on Wednesday — but the company’s decision to use its U.S. home page means that its arguments regarding SOPA will reach a huge audience.
In a statement, Google’s news team said, “Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet. So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our US home page.”
Other sites voicing their support for the Internet’s “strike” over the proposed piracy bills include MoveOn.org, the Cheezburger Network, Mozilla and Wordpress.
Lobbying against the bill has been furious, and on Tuesday, NetCoalition — which counts Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay and Wikipedia among its users — started a national radio and print advertising campaign against SOPA and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act, focusing on the argument that the restrictions the bills place on Internet companies to police infringing material on their sites stifles innovation.
Jobs are also a main talking point for those lobbying the other side of the issue such as the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who say that online piracy sites that sell counterfeit goods or steal copyrighted material hurt American companies. Proponents of the measure say that the bills are written to narrowly target foreign Web sites, and will not — as critics say — put the burden of policing these sites onto American companies such as Google or American Internet service providers.
“Every day, consumers are duped, jobs are stolen, and businesses are crippled due to foreign rogue websites. That is why the Chamber strongly supports both the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House — both are narrowly tailored bills designed to target the worst of the worst offenders,” said David Hirschmann, President and CEO of the Global Intellectual Property Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.