Several leading Internet companies are voicing strong concerns with House and Senate legislation to curb online piracy, saying the measures would impose new burdens that could stifle their industry's innovation and growth.
AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo and Zynga Game Network wrote the top leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees on Tuesday about the bills introduced by the chairmen of both panels.
"We support the bill's stated goals - providing additional enforcement tools to combat foreign 'rogue' websites that are dedicated to copyright infringement or counterfeiting," the Internet firms wrote. "Unfortunately, the bills as drafted 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 websites."
The companies said they cannot support the bills as written and called on the lawmakers to focus on more targeted measures to crack down on online piracy and counterfeiting.
At a hearing earlier this year, a Google official urged a House Judiciary panel to target the money being earned by foreign websites that engage in piracy and counterfeiting.
But copyright and trademark holders say Google in particular has not done enough to block access to such sites through its search engine. They also say it has done too little to ensure that ads it provides to websites do not appear on "rogue" sites.
Critics and supporters of the legislation will likely get a chance to air their concerns on Wednesday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Stop Online Piracy Act, introduced late last month by Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas., and ranking member John Conyers, D-Mich.