High-tech venture capitalists to Congress: The PROTECT IP Act is bad for America

A reader writes: "Fifty-four venture capitalists from forty firms sent a letter to one hundred Senators and a number of Congressman expressing concern about S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act ('PIPA'), which would allow rights-holders to require third-parties to block access to and take away revenues sources for online services, with limited oversight and due process. The signatories to this letter work for firms that manage over $13B. We are early investors in services like Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, Skype, Groupon, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Foursquare, and a host of other important web services. The services they have backed now reach over a billion users."

The PROTECT IP Act Will Slow Start-up Innovation


  1. been saying from the get-go that this protect ip act is a bad idea and doesnt protect anything.

  2. We are early investors in services like Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, Skype, Groupon, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Foursquare, and a host of other important web services.

    What part of “Old Money doesn’t want you to exist” is unclear? Innovation doesn’t serve Old Money unless they own it outright. They don’t want progress; they want to find the perfect combination of capitalism and feudalism that keeps them in power and ultra-rich forever.

    1. Capitalism for the workforce (No unions!), feudalism for the elite. At least, that seems to be their perfect mix of things. Capitalism and the invisible hand of “free” markets are their excuse to get unions removed and deregulation of corporations (including the deregulation of their ability to get entrenchments via regulation, loopy i know) enforced.

  3. Congress says: Hell, if you want to kick back some cash, go right ahead. It’s pay to play, mofos.

  4. Excellent. This is the type of thing opponents of PIPA need: big-name (big-money) allies. The people supporting PIPA are heavy hitters and are making claims that the little lobbying groups against the act are padding their petitions with fake names and are run by pirating websites. (Though the latter could stem from someone’s confusion over linking vs hosting)

  5. US VCs opining on the sanctity of IP and the free market can be decoded faster than I thought of, let alone typed this note.

    HiTech VCs have been in the incrementalism business for about a decade – or more depending on whom you ask. As such, innovation and the protection of creative invention is a distant second to fast-exit iterative increments of “improvement” to scripts as “applications” – a low-risk, modest-reward funding strategy that depends on the ability to steal, copy or mimic existing “solutions”.

    The bigger question is this, will any of this IP openness/protectionism impede Chinese and/or other entities from simply taking what they want when they want it? a la American entrepreneurs of the 1800s?

  6. Maybe if congress can rename PROTECT IP to be “war on something” like “war on piracy”, then it will have more success.

    Jokes aside, I am glad that this legislation is debated here. I hope it can be blocked.
    There have been an increasing number of attempts for governments to regulate/control the internet. Some have unfortunately been successful already.
    Most of those have a characteristic hallmark of “discretion without accountability” where some committee will have to decide (often as final arbiter) which specific ISPs, sites, individuals are violating the broad and fuzzy definition of the law.

    I may be naive, but I still hope that the experience of the internet can shed some light in people’s minds on how emergent self-regulation works and bring into question the legitimacy of IP laws.
    IP laws are even more clearly broken in cyberspace, but at the root it is for the same reason that they are broken in the real world: IP laws are incompatible with private property (copying information is not theft, as the owner still has it).
    Maybe the learnings from the internet could help repeal the IP laws, instead of allowing the IP laws to encroach onto the internet.

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