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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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Are You An Internet Entrepreneur In Colorado? Oppose PIPA!

Comments (139)

If you are a entrepreneur in Colorado who is working on something related to the Internet, please consider signing the following letter to Senator Udall and Senator Bennet opposing the Protect IP (PIPA) Act. I’ve written why I believe PIPA is effectively censorship and an incredibly dangerous and destructive bill to our economy, entrepreneurship, the Internet, and free speech.

After several discussions with various Congressional staff members, I’ve drafted the following letter to deliver to Senator Udall and Senator Bennet. I want to make sure they are hearing directly from entrepreneurs in Colorado, who I view as a much more important constituency of theirs than the folks in Hollywood who are trying to jam these bills through Congress. I’ve tried to make this letter substantive around the issues so the Senators understand the fundamental issues with the bills.

If you are a Colorado entrepreneur and want to be signed on to this letter, please either email me or put your name, company name, and title in the comments. The letter follows:

To: Senator Udall, Senator Bennet

As entrepreneurs in Colorado, we are writing because the Protect IP Act, now moving through the Senate (along with its House counterpart), poses a significant risk to the innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation that has characterized the Internet’s development.  We urge you to take a critical view of this legislation, calling for a greater effort to balance its focus on addressing piracy with its unintended consequence on technological development and innovation.  In short, we do not dispute that piracy on the Internet is a valid and important policy concern worth addressing; we do, however, object to the approach taken in this proposed legislation, which does not take seriously the interests of and impact on Internet companies.

Over the last twenty years, the Internet has enabled entrepreneurial upstarts to establish new companies, creating enormous amounts of wealth, jobs of the future here in the United States, and improving the lives of consumers and the productivity of businesses.  This success story rests on an architecture—both technical and legal—that has allowed for innovation without permission.   Most notably, sound regulatory and legal policy creates an environment where Internet companies can grow without the need to navigate difficult legal requirements, face entry barriers, or be at the mercy of larger companies’ business decisions.   Without such an environment, Google, Facebook, and other successful Internet companies would not exist, or would not have been founded here in the US.

In the area of intellectual property, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) constitutes a sound model of an Internet policy regime that allows for innovation and Internet-based entrepreneurship.  Under the DMCA, Internet companies are not required to architect their offerings in any particular manner to prevent possible copyright infringement; rather, they enjoy a “safe harbor” from secondary liability provided they comply with a “notice-and-takedown” provision that operates after-the-fact.  The DMCA also requires Internet companies to develop and enforce “repeat infringer” policies to address those individuals who do not respect copyright.
The Protect IP Act (PIPA) reflects the concern that the DMCA has allowed for significant amounts of piracy to take place on the Internet and that more can and should be done to prevent it.  But this concern alone cannot justify support for PIPA, as the proposed legislation takes four critical steps that, taken together, risk undermining the Internet’s architecture for innovation.

The most crucial and fateful flaw in the proposed legislation is its stance that not only the Department of Justice, but also private firms, should be able to sue Internet companies to invoke the remedies available in the bill.  In so doing, and in combination with its conclusion that certain remedies should be available on an ex parte basis—without the essential due process safeguards of offering the affected party notice and an opportunity to be heard–it subjects companies to the potential risk that they will be subject to extreme measures in error.

Three other aspects of the law bear notice and significant concern.  First, the bill imposes no accountability on private firms that invoke PIPA’s provisions in bad faith or even recklesslessly, despite evidence that firms have issued notice and take down requests in the DMCA in this manner (and despite the presence of such a provision in the DMCA).  Second, the bill sets out a standard that potentially subjects Internet providers to liability without clear, specific limits that can be readily be understood and followed ahead of time.  Third, the bill goes beyond the very sensible and effective remedy of preventing the use of credit card payments, ad networks, and other sources of funds to “rogue websites” and includes provisions that not only authorizes the seizure of domain names (which the DOJ can do under current law), but also the blocking of the Domain Name System address by ISPs.

The economic impact of the Internet and growth of Internet companies, here in Colorado and across the United States, is powerful success story that reflects the ingenuity, entrepreneurial spirit, and wise policy environment that the United States enjoys.  The innovators of tomorrow are ill-equipped to hire lobbyists and thus it is crucial that enlightened political leaders, like you both, take the time, effort, and care to engage with the technology community to ensure that an environment that supports innovation remain in place.  A sound regime for both protecting intellectual property rights and protecting companies against undue liability and legal traps for the unwary is part of that environment.

PIPA does not accomplish this and we strongly encourage you to take the concerns of the Colorado entrepreneurial community seriously, lest you overreach unnecessarily to protect intellectual property rights and undermine Internet-based innovation as a result.

  • http://freepository.com John Minnihan

    emailed moments ago

    John Minnihan
    Founder, Freepository

  • http://msitarzewski.com/ msitarzewski

    Hey Brad, I’m in.

    Michael Sitarzewski
    Callisto.fm, Inc.

  • http://www.meeps.com Mat Ranauro

    Mat Ranauro
    Co-Founder & CEO Meeps

  • http://twitter.com/jvaleski Jud Valeski

    consider it signed. Jud Valeski, Gnip, Inc.

  • http://pmerrill.com/ paulmerrill

    Signed.

    -Paul Merrill, Director of Greener Grass Media.

  • http://twitter.com/pete_jordan Pete Jordan

    Pete Jordan, Co-Founder, RapidEngines

  • http://www.redheadwriting.com The Redhead

    Signed.
    Erika Napoletano – Principal
    RHW Media LLC

  • Shane Schieffer

    Shane Schieffer, Co-Founder of Gusto Technologies

  • http://alexking.org Alex King

    Alex King, Founder, Crowd Favorite, Ltd.

  • Scott Yates

    Scott Yates
    CEO
    BlogMutt

  • http://www.copyblogger.com Brian Clark

    Brian Clark
    CEO
    Copyblogger Media

  • http://kristapaul.com kristapaul

    Please include me. Thanks for taking the initiative.

    Krista Paul, Founder, UsingMiles, Inc.

  • http://twitter.com/DeBearclaw Matthew Barrowclough

    Matthew Barrowclough
    Founder
    Grocerio.com

  • http://learntoduck.com/ micah

    Micah Baldwin
    CEO
    Graphicly

  • Anonymous

    Dusty Candland

    Co-Founder
    DwellData, Inc.

  • Anonymous

    Heck ya I’m in.

    John Wilker
    Founder
    360|Conferences, corp.

  • Shane Taylor

    Shane Taylor
    CEO
    ScriptPad

  • http://www.advisoryboardarchitects.com Ann Spoor

    Ann Spoor
    Managing Director
    Advisory Board Architects

  • http://twitter.com/AngelCapital Kevin Johansen

    Kevin Johansen, CEO

    The Business Catapult

  • http://twitter.com/jonnycombust Jonathan Greechan

    Jonathan Greechan, Partner at the Founder Institute

  • http://omshantinaturals.com Kate

    Count me in!

    Kate Jones, owner and founder, Om Shanti Naturals

  • Lou Patterson

    Lou Patterson
    Founder/CEO
    Category One, Inc.

  • Thomson Comer

    Please stop PIPA!

    Thomson Comer
    Electric Textiles, LLC

  • Brett Yates

    Brett Yates
    Cofounder
    RentMonitor

  • http://twitter.com/CoSmallBusiness Cosmallbusiness.org

    “McKinsey recently studied thirteen mature national economies and found that over the past five years, 21% of GDP growth can be directly attributed to the Internet. They found that 2.4 jobs were created for every job lost to Internet efficiencies. They also found that over the last fifteen years, an increase in Internet maturity is directly correlated to an average increase in real per capita GDP of $500. By contrast, it took 50 years to see that impact during the industrial revolution of the 19th century.” (Usv.com, 2011). APA Style referencing which some Universities require an entire course or extensive training on it already takes care of their so called concern. Actually as mentioned here entrepreneurship is a conversation with the sharing of ideas and research so we use reference or point out areas to make a point or extend on a new idea or angle. For example, a secretive bill was being passed in congress that would pose a potential of turning our nation into a Nazi type of society so for brevity sake immediate action was a factor  an image from another patriotic site was used to make the point and yes APA could have been used but since from a friendly site sharing same concern not a problem with them. An image could be posted then in AP style referencing (Image, Patriot Network.org), for example.  I received an e-mail in the morning secret legislation was being voted on the next day so quick way to make a point for us not to become another censor fascist society. I am part German and born in New York so very concerned about our country being taking away day by day, our liberties on food, water, supplements (Codex), speech, business and or property. As a child I had to hear my Dad talk about the horrible war in Germany and how so many Germans suffered who knew it was wrong to take their Nation to the brink of destruction by falling for the lies of the media and change agents. Germans are very proud people and thanks for being so smart bailing out most of Europe today; hopefully they will survive or get out of Euro. Count me in on opposing PIPA. Their argument  also not valid since our gov, was allowing weakening of our Patent laws for global market  and deserved better protection. This is more about control for big players than about protection.
     For more on APA Citation. APAStyle.org. (2011) Retreived from ttp://www.apastyle.org/index.aspx

  • http://twitter.com/yoavlurie Yoav Lurie

    Yoav Lurie
    CEO and Founder
    Simple Energy

  • Anonymous

    We’re in:

    Bart Lorang
    Co-Founder & CEO
    FullContact, Inc.

  • http://twitter.com/ZackShapiro Zack Shapiro

    I’m in.

    Zack Shapiro
    Founder
    59thirty

  • http://crowdspoke.com mpastko

    Michael Pastko
    Co-Founder and CEO
    Crowdspoke

  • http://twitter.com/deannabe Deanna Bennett

    Deanna Bennett
    Cofounder
    RentMonitor

  • http://www.billda.com Bill DAlessandro

    Absolutely Brad – please put my name on the letter:

    Bill D’Alessandro
    Co-Founder
    Elements Brands

  • Taberski

    Kevin Taberski
    President
    Dynamic Engineering Corporation

  • http://www.Rafflecopter.com Juan Patten

    Absolutely in. Fantastic letter. Thanks for writing it.

    Juan Patten
    Co-Founder
    Rafflecopter

  • http://twitter.com/MattTalbot Matt Talbot

    Matt Talbot
    CEO
    GoSpotCheck

  • http://twitter.com/jerome10 Jerome Breche

    Thank you Brad for creating the letter.

    Jerome Breche
    CEO
    SnapEngage

  • http://twitter.com/Merredith Merredith

    In.  Most of my clients are start-ups or growing companies. And one of my clients represents companies — Facebook, Twitter, Google — that clearly would not have thrived had PIPA been in place.

    Merredith Branscombe
    Founder, President
    Leap Public Relations

  • http://appliedtrust.com/ned Ned

    Excellent!

    Ned McClain
    CTO & Co-Founder
    AppliedTrust

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the heads-up.

    Matthew Wanderer
    Founder
    Tweakable

  • http://twitter.com/brfund brfund

    Count me in as well.

    Bret Fund
    CU Prof and Founder of Gogy, Inc

  • Anonymous

    Agree completely. It reminds me very much of the problems doctors face. Love to help you stop this and refine it. 
    David Fishman
    Founder 
    Patient Fuel

  • http://www.masterpapers.com research paper writing

    Me
    Iphone
    Grick KO

  • http://www.facebook.com/marilyndwalker Marilyn Gobbel Walker

    Please add my name to the letter:

    Marilyn Walker
    Chief Operating Officer
    HOMER Energy – http://www.homerenergy.com

    Well done – thanks for the clear explanation of the issues.

  • http://twitter.com/pzeckser Paul Zeckser

    Paul Zeckser
    VP, New Product Development
    ServiceMagic.com

  • Don Greenfield

    Don Greenfield, Partner
    Venture Growth

  • Joshuajforman

    Joshua Forman
    VP, Service Delivery
    Symplified, Inc

  • http://www.bouldercountytrader.com/ Bonnie Rush

    Bonnie Rush, Partner
    Boulder County Trader

    (Thanks for doing this, Brad.)

  • Don Hazell

    Don Hazell, EVP
    Rally Software Development

  • Kevinwarr

    Kevin Warr, President
    Masterpiece Solutions

  • Toby

    Thanks Brad.

    Toby Krout, co-CEO
    Atomic20

    Jeff Donaldson, co-CEO
    Atomic20

  • Tim Wolters

    Thanks Brad.

    Tim Wolters
    Founder
    RoundPegg

  • Joel Gratz

    Joel Gratz
    Founder & Meteorologist
    OpenSnow.com

  • Anonymous

    Damn straight.

    Greg Keller 
    Co-founder
    blipsnip.it

  • Greg

    Signed,

    Greg Berry
    President and co-founder
    W1SDØM

  • Chad Vos

    Signed

    Chad Vos
    Entrepreneur/CIO/Evangelist
    Advantage Integrated Solutions

  • Ann Marie Marie

    Ann Marie Martin
    CoFounder
    OptimalSystemsInc

  • Pingback: The PROTECT IP Act Is Very Real and Very Bad — Call Now to Block It « News Worldwide

  • Erika Trautman

    Thanks for this post, Brad.

    Signed,
    Erika TrautmanCEOFlixMaster

  • Trent Hein

    Thanks Brad.

    Trent R. HeinCEO and Co-Founder
    AppliedTrust

  • http://www.tmarkiewicz.com tmarkiewicz

    Signed

    Tom Markiewicz
    CEO
    StatsMix, Inc.

  • Karen Landrum Pellegrin

    Karen L. Pellegrin
    Founder
    ChromaKi

  • Chris Franks

    Chris Franks
    CEO
    Moblify

  • http://www.swaglove.com/blog Casey Schorr

    Signed

    Casey Schorr
    CEO
    Printfection Group LLC

    3700 Quebec St Unit 100-136
    Denver, Colorado 80207

  • http://www.biggerpockets.com Joshua Dorkin

    Joshua Dorkin
    CEO
    BiggerPockets.com

  • http://twitter.com/DaveMRich David M Rich

    Signed

    David Rich
    CEO
    Off The Quad, Inc.

  • Lane Hornung

    Signed

    Lane Hornung
    CEO and Founder
    8z Real Estate and COhomefinder.com

  • admin

    Thanks for your part in helping us stop this horrible legislation.

    John Knott
    Co-Founder
    J&R eSupplies

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