Earlier today, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (or SOPA) which, depending on who you ask, is either a means to stop piracy and copyright infringement on so-called "rogue" websites, or the most serious threat of internet censorship that we've seen in some time. In the latter camp are some of the biggest internet companies around, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, eBay, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Zynga and AOL (full disclosure: Engadget's parent company), who today made their stance clear by taking out a full-page ad in The New York Times.
The ad itself is a letter sent by the nine companies to Congress, which states that while they support the stated goals of the bill and the related Protect IP Act, they believe that, as written, the bills "would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities, private rights of action, and technology mandates that would require monitoring of web sites." The companies further went on to say that they believe the measures also "pose a serious risk to our industry's continued track record of innovation and job-creation, as well as to our Nation's cybersecurity." While they didn't all sign onto the letter, those companies also also joined by a host of others who have spoken out against the legislation, including Foursquare and Tumblr. The sole witness against the proposed measures at today's hearing, however, was Google's copyright policy counsel, Katherine Oyama -- you can find her testimony on Google's Public Policy Blog linked below.