Silicon valley firms spearheaded by Google are attempting to put a stop to the anti-piracy legislation that is set to emerge from the House Judiciary Committee.
Web search giant Google has characterized the Hollywood-backed bill as censorship.
A lobbying war has been raging in Washington, D.C., between Northern California technology companies and Southern California movie studios. The fight is over a bill that is scheduled for a vote on Thursday, which is ostensibly a legislative response to the problem of illegal downloading online.
Bills moving through both the House and Senate would empower the Justice Department to obtain court orders, which would compel Internet service providers to block from using the web those foreign websites that engage in piracy.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt called the legislation “a form of censorship.” Schmidt told reporters, “They should not criminalize the intermediaries. They should go after the people who are violating the law.”
Hollywood has recently promoted the bills by bringing in studio executives from Fox and Warner Brothers and director Taylor Hackford, actress Helen Mirren’s spouse, to push the anti-piracy legislation.
The Hollywood lobbying group has held meetings with members of the House Judiciary Committee and key White House staffers, including Vice President Joe Biden.
Creative America, a nonprofit entity founded by Hollywood studios and unions, is utilizing an ad campaign to promote the anti-piracy bills; advertisements have aired in D.C. and on national cable channels and additionally in corresponding print ads that have been placed in select newspapers.
Former Democrat Sen. Christopher Dodd is overseeing the Hollywood effort in his current capacity as head of the powerful Motion Picture Association of America.
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