You may have noticed the blackouts on the internet yesterday (1-18-2011) in regards to to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). It was up to many businesses whether or not they would participate in the nationwide virtual protest, and to what extent. Many businesses such as Wikepedia shut down completely, while others like Google took their stance with a blacked out logo.
The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who makes the request, the court order could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators from conducting business with the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites. The bill would criminalize unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for ten such infringements within six months. The bill also grants immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement.
Though many e-commerce and internet based corporations took a stand, a clear statement was not given by any major auto manufacturers…except one, Ford. Ford is considered to be a supporter of the SOPA. Here is the statement sent out by Ford in response to SOPA via Google+:
“We have seen a number of mentions and questions about Ford Motor Company with regard to SOPA over the past few days. We’d like to set the record straight in this regard. Ford does not support SOPA nor do we regularly take positions on any legislation.
In September, Ford signed a letter to Congress expressing the need to protect our intellectual property – there are hordes of counterfeiters out there who make Ford parts and goods that are not officially licensed, hence our interest. Plus, we have a significant commitment to the technology field, with lots of efforts that result in proprietary information that, if it were compromised, would be counter-productive. This hurts our licensees and our customers and is not tolerable.
While we want to ensure our IP is protected, we do not encourage legislation that fundamentally changes the Internet. We have expressed interest in working with Congress to find a balance that keeps the Internet open yet protects intellectual property. There is much more value in working together to find a solution to to creating an environment where the next big idea can flourish.”