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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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American Censorship Day Is Tomorrow (11/16/11)

Comments (19)

There are two very disturbing bills making their way through Congress: Protect IP Act (PIPA - S.968) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA – H.R.3261). These bills are coated in rhetoric that I find disgusting since at their core they are online censorship bills. It’s incredible to me that Congress would take seriously anything that censors the Internet and the American public but in the last few weeks PIPA and SOPA have burst forth with incredibly momentum, largely being underwritten by large media companies and their lobbyists.

A number of organizations in support of free speech and a free and open Internet have recently come out in opposition to these bills. They include EFF, Free Software Foundation, Public Knowledge, Demand Progress, Fight For the Future, Participatory Politics Foundation, and Creative Commons who have organized American Censorship Day tomorrow (11/16/11).

If you run a website or have a blog, go to the American Censorship site to see how you can participate on 11/16/11.

In addition to being censorship bills, these are anti-entrepreneurship bills. They are a classic example of industry incumbents trying to use the law to stifle disruptive innovation, or at least innovation that they view as disruptive to their established business. To date, the Internet has been an incredible force for entrepreneurship and positive change throughout the world (did anyone notice what recently happened in Egypt?) It’s beyond comprehension why some people in Congress would want to slow this down in any way.

While you can try to understand the bills, this short video does a phenomenal job of summarizing their potential impact along with second order effects (intended or unintended).

PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

I’m furious about this, as are many of my friends, including Fred Wilson who wrote today about how these bills undermine The Architecture of the Internet. But we are aware, as are many others, that simply being mad doesn’t solve anything. Join us and speak out loudly against censorship – right now! If you have a blog or website, please take part in American Censorship Day - the instructions are on their website which – so far – hasn’t been censored.

  • http://www.alearningaday.com Rohan

    Signed up my blog.

    Reading a lot on this thanks to Fred.
    All the best.

  • http://www.masterpapers.com/prices.php buy essay

    Thanks freat really interesting and useful!

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  • Rich

    “It’s beyond comprehension…”

    Actually, it’s a no brainer. But, it’s really of no consequence. The haters will hate and the dark side will do what it does, no matter how much you or anyone else bitches about it. You should know that by now.

    I’ve looked for funding for over a year for a project. I’ve had to make everything happen with a few pennies I had lying around. So, what else is new? The government listens to lobbyists, entrepreneurs waste time creating business plans, good ideas go by the way side…

    Look on the bright side you get to experience first hand the kind frustration we entrepreneurs go through. You’re now an even more valuable VC! This is why they say failing teaches you important lessons.

    • http://www.dpe82.com Dale Emmons

      Rich, you say it’s of no consequence on a public forum that will likely not be able to exist under the bill as written. Think about that for a minute.

      • http://www.feld.com bfeld

        Dale – brilliant. And true.

      • Rich

        I don’t believe that will happen Dale. I don’t think Brad violates any IP rights on this blog.

        If anyone violates Brad’s right to free speech that’s another thing altogether. He can always call me on the phone to let me know.

        • http://www.dpe82.com Dale Emmons

          No he probably doesn’t. But you could. Right here in this commenting section. And your actions here could open Brad up to liability under SOPA.

          • http://www.feld.com bfeld

            Dale – you are absolutely correct. This is part of the insanity of SOPA. Even worse is the notion that it could be a felony!

          • Rich

            Still not convinced. But, I’m gonna’ take your post as a red flag and listen for what develops.

            Calm down and wait to see what passes. If something passes that you don’t like, then do something about it. There’s no reason to get upset now, it’s a waste of time and energy.

  • http://www.dpe82.com Dale Emmons

    The more I think about this bill the more I think it’s really about the content industry trying to ensure that only they can distribute any kind of content online, since that will be its end result.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Dale – you are correct.

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