Opposing The Protect IP Act

Roughly a month ago, I wrote a post outlining why the Protect IP act is bad legislation. We got a significant amount of outreach from that post from colleagues in the venture capital business who are equally concerned about the chilling effect such legislation would have on innovation in the tech sector.

So yesterday our firm along with 53 other VCs sent a letter to congress opposing the Protect IP act. My partner Brad wrote a blog post on the Union Square Ventures blog outlining why we are collectively opposed to the Protect IP legislation. In that post, Brad noted that:

Venture capitalists are notoriously apolitical. We believe in markets. We are not asking for tax breaks or favorable regulatory rulings, we are asking for restraint.

The group of venture capitalists who joined us in expressing concern about S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act ("PIPA") represent a broad range of political views. We share a passion for start-ups and a conviction that young companies are a fantastic source of productive innovation. This group is responsible for a significant amount of investment in the U.S. economy.

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 we have backed now reach over a billion users.

We believe that policy makers understand the importance of this sector of our economy. We hope they will address our concerns.

If you'd like to join us in expressing your concerns to congress about Protect IP, you can do so here.

You can also voice your concerns at Votizen.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Julien

    As much as I think that Protect IP is wrong, I have yet to see many of the internet startups and corporations actually release their patents and put some (most!) or their IP in the public domain. This would put their their hands were their mouths are!

  2. David Binetti

    If you’d like to add your signature we’ve cross posted the letter to Votizen as well.https://www.votizen.com/let…We need more job-creating innovation and should not hinder the startups that are creating those  jobs.

    1. fredwilson

      I will link to Votizen as well

    2. Maria Morales

      Added my signature!

    3. ShanaC

      Thank you

  3. Matthew Votsikas

    We have something similar in the UK coming through in leaked secret meetings.The repeal to the Digital Economy Act gives the government power to block websites they deem inappropriate via “volunteered” ISP’s.If you live in the UK, and want to fight this, here’s the petition:http://action.openrightsgro

    1. fredwilson

      this whole “civilized internet” movement is big time trouble

      1. markslater

        yes it is – good to see that the dutch just voted to go the other way.

      2. Louis Bern

        The days of stealing IP are over. Tech and banking industry needs to understand this to benefit. Don’t fight it.Go with the trend. Last decade was tech industry raping the artists.This decade will be the rise of the artist. Then, digital will really thrive.Don’t believe me. Watch Hollywood make its moves.

        1. fredwilson

          digital will thrive when artists and rights holders embrace the internet andnew models, not when they hold onto old models which don’t work anymore

          1. Louis Bern

            Don’t fight it. I work in music and it’s easy to screw the music industry due to its experimentation over the years (i.e. removing drm, subscription, stat. rates, etc. which no other industry in showbiz has done).What I am saying is Hollywood will crush you if you f*** with their content or creative community. Don’t fight it. Go with it and design businesses around this new model of digital control, which Hollywood is now implementing via Gov’t influence.

  4. howardlindzon

    popvox is cool.  i got to make one for the SEC

    1. markslater

      POPVOX Is awsome. this model could apply to umpteen public institutions howard. its frickin awsome.

      1. RichardF

        It is very good idea except that it wants complete access to my Twitter account, including  DM’s if you use Twitter as a log in method – why?  err no thanks.

        1. Marci

          I think many companies are wrestling with the most effective way to do this and balance convenience with privacy.With POPVOX you can create a unique POPVOX account or sign in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or LinkedIn.Our user surveys are showing privacy to be a huge concern for users, so we just released a new policy that we think is pretty cutting-edge: https://www.popvox.com/legalBlogged here: http://www.popvox.com/blog/…Would love your thoughts!

          1. RichardF

            problem is Marci it’s not clear from your website why you need access to any of my Twitter information. If you are just using Twitter oauth as a method of login, then you don’t need any of it. 

          2. Marci

            Those are the OAuth choices with Twitter (as far as we know). According to our CTO, it’s quite “all or nothing”. If you are uncomfortable with that, just choose a different login option. That’s why we have several different login options – so you can choose the one you are most comfortable with.

          3. RichardF

            That is incorrect Marci. Twitter OAuth is either Read only or Read/WritePersonally I don’t think any web app should ask for access to any more than is required and it should be obvious why that access is required because it can be a barrier to people signing up – but hey that’s just my 10 cents worth 🙂

          4. Marci

            POPVOX accesses Read/Write to allow you to tweet out once you have taken action and build support for your permission… but if you are uncomfortable with that, why not sign up a different way?  As I mentioned, you have 5 options.  One of which is no OAuth with any service.

  5. Louis Bern

    It is odd that bankers (VC folks) are telling the Gov’t what to do.

    1. fredwilson

      VC is about as far away from banking and brokerage as you can get

      1. Morgan Warstler

        Not quite there Fred.Being an entrepreneur is about as far away from banking as you can get. 

  6. JLM

    The issue, at the end of the day, is not just the PIPA or any other singular targeted piece of legislation — it is the entire yoke of governmental regulation on industries that are moving at a pace that is infinitely faster than ink can flow from a pen and become legislation.The legislators are legislating the last 5 years and the innovators are creating the next 5 years. The time frames are off.There is a charming naivete when otherwise brilliant folks anoint themselves as “apolitical” — much like the successful capitalist who embraces the “simple life” >>> just one multi-million dollar home, one beach house, one ski house, one yacht and a Net Jet card for travel.  OK, maybe a small jet.  Maybe a couple of Beamers and a single MB.The simple life, in deed indeed!Therein lies the problem — business cannot be apolitical.And if you are going to influence politics, you are going to have to meld your collective politics and send folks to DC who will embrace and follow directions.  You cannot have business and the tech industry in particular cancelling each other out. American politics — wherein our elected officials enact landmark legislation without even READING it, is hopelessly broken but if you are going to wail against the machine, then it is not going to fix itself.If the Congress does not READ their own legislation, you really, really, really think they are going to READ a letter from a bunch of guys whose names are not amongst their list of contributors.Elections matter.  If you elect inexperienced community organizers then you will get thoughtless immature crap like this — OK, maybe just a bit barbed.

    1. David Binetti

      What happens *between* elections matters as well.  

      1. JLM

        Absolutely.  Well played.  Brilliant!The real problem — the damn elections never stop!  We are in constant election mode from Inauguration Day to the next Election Day.Here we sit over 17 months to the elections and each and every word spoken in Washington — by all sides, mind you, not just the incumbents — is filtered through the lens of the election.Wednesday’s speech, the President — dealing w/ Afghanistan and troop levels — was a political statement focused on its impact on the electoral war not on the war in Afghanistan.

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          It was observed, too, how he is attacking people.  He should know as an incumbant you mind your own store and wait ’til next year.This is not a bad article from an Afghan POV.http://www.guardian.co.uk/w

    2. markslater

      yes i do. i believe its the future of government – because it has to be – because its horribly broken JLM. 

      1. JLM

        I don’t understand you comment.  Please elaborate.  Thanks, ms.

        1. markslater

          packing off a politician to do the work of his constituents was when he would take 3 days on a horse to get to washington.Trusting these people to vote on our behalf on major issues is beyond a joke in this day and age. i want my elected representitive to be able to tap constituent sentiment at any given time using tools like POPVOX. i also want him to know that he will “get it in the ear” if he goes against overwhelming sentiment opposing his position. thats not a great deal to ask – technology renders the “out of sight out of mind” political shenanigans extinct. Its time we upgrade – you never know – the lobbyist might yet be beaten. 

          1. JLM

            Understood and agreed.  Thanks for expounding.There is a very interesting element of our Founding Fathers’ view of things which must be tempered by the realization that these guys were writing when horseback and carriage and boat were the only forms of travel.

          2. markslater

            the problem is – the system reward people for getting there – not for what they do there. 

          3. Dave W Baldwin

            JLM and @markslater:disqus , something you’re missing is the real change was a matter of pay.Serving in the House was considered a duty at one time and the pay/perks was not anywhere as it is now.Give ’em Hell Harry didn’t even retire out a rich man.With all the perks and deals members of the Government get in on, the whole thing is a very lucrative venture… then you add vanity/ego.Don’t put down the time of horse and buggy, for the different innovators of that time period and before were busy innovating.  They actually had to sweat….

          4. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          5. markslater

            thats hystercial. how did that work out for you? those capable people? 

    3. Tom Labus

      The imbalance between the government and the business community has existed from the beginning of the country.Business moves ahead, there is progress and the government follows with some sort of legislation and business then leap frogs that. But once and awhile there needs to be adjustments made like with some controls over derivatives and banks playing with them. We need Congress to function at least once every few generations.

      1. JLM

        “We need Congress to function at least once every few generations.”You made me chuckle w/ the above.  Well played.I actually think that Congress has just about enough collective business wisdom to theoretically make good business decisions.The Administration, not so much.It is all the damn money which knocks things on their ear.  The amount of money is just obscene.I am not opposed to all regulation but it has to be tempered by the knowledge that a n’er do well is not going to follow the rules any way.I am very much in favor of industry derived cooperative regulation.  Anybody with a brain knew that those kids w/ the mousse in their hair were nuts in creating some of those derivatives.  When the Chmn of the Fed admits he cannot follow the math, we have long since gone too far.

    4. fredwilson

      one step at a time JLMgotta learn to walk before we can learn to run (or bribe as the case may be)

      1. Morgan Warstler

        Fred, you just better make sure that if Rick Perry is President you weren’t on the wrong side of history.

        1. JLM

          I never saw the Rick Perry thing coming but the guy has been at the helm when 37% of all the new jobs created in the US were created in Texas.And apparently nobody in DC knows how to create jobs.Could be a good match.Hell, I’d contribute the max just to see the prelims.

          1. Morgan Warstler

            Yeah, I was at a thing at the capital with Breitbart about a year ago…  I heard him speak informally, and his “states’ rights” argument is about pitch perfect by 2012.Not just on taxes and regs, on the basic social stuff – all of it is a states thing.  He got done speaking and I told Drew, he’s the guy – bet early and push/beg the mofo to run – the man HATES Washington DC, and in doing so he represents the essence of technology – distribute power and change from the bottom. When the gov has debt to issue and money to print, comparisons aren’t easy state-to-state, but when all the money is spent – we’re going to get to see policy impacts across all 50 states, suddenly what works in Texas or doesn’t work in Georgia, etc. Its going to be very hard to argue with.There won’t be any more, can’t be any more, “all hat, no cattle.”



        1. Prokofy


    5. raycote

      Agreed!The contributor is kingas inThe customer is kingas in She who pays the piper calls the tunenow where can we find the political contributors to backELECTION FINANCE REFORM

      1. Dave Pinsen

        The election finance reform that makes the most sense is to have unlimited contributions with full and immediate disclosure online. The current system discourages people from entering politics, because they have to troll for small contributions.

    6. ted

      Two non-subtle points re your last four lines:1. The President does not create legislation;2. The President a not member of Congress.I’m not sure which is worse: members of Congress not reading legislation, or people falling asleep during second grade civics class.

      1. JLM

        Fairy tale kind of inartful distinction.In modern times, the President can make or break any member of the Congress — by refusing to raise funds for him come election time.Witness the defection of Sen Arlen Specter and the manner in which the WH pirouetted about as the king maker anointing a fallen Republican rather than championing the selection of Pennsylvania Democrats in their own primary.By filling the seats through his power of fundraising, the President determines the outcomes with an ease worthy of a Mafia Don.The President signs the legislation and that is the what breathes life into even the most flawed possible legislation.They don’t call it Obamacare because Nancy Pelosi thought it up.It was written by lobbyists who took their marching orders from the White House.There is a huge difference between civics class and the real world.

        1. Ted

          They call it Obamacare because “they” — like you — are inartful hacks who don’t know what they’re talking about.  It should probably be called Conradcare. Or Baucuscare.I have no idea what point you are trying to make re Pennsylvania; you don’t really make any cogent points (no worries if doing such isn’t really your specialty). Specter switched parties because Republicans turned on him. Not sure what that has to do with the president being in the executive branch and not the legislative branch, but whatever.There’s a huge difference between the way things work and the nonsense that goes on in your head.

          1. JLM

            Teddy, Teddy — slipped out of charm school a semester early?It is called Obamacare because it was the signal focus of then candidate Obama’s campaign.  You remember all that hope and change stuff?To suggest that it should be called something else is to simply deny reality.  This was President Obama’s “big thang” and why not?Specter did not switch parties because the Republicans turned on him, he switched because he made the cynical assessment that his constituents in Pennsylvania were not going to re-nominate him in the Pennsylvania Republican primary.It had next to nothing to do w/ the Republicans in DC.  They don’t vote in the Pennsylvania Republican primary.The point is, dear boy, that the President encouraged Specter to switch parties and embraced him with open arms — why you might ask?Because of the then slim Senate majorities which could and did impact cloture votes.Just for the record, Specter started his political career as a Democrat and switched to the Republican party for a DA election some many years ago.  He was really just switching back to the Democrats but that may be too much nuance for you.The President’s men then went on to suggest to Specter’s Democratic primary opponent that the President would prefer he not run against the President’s hand picked house maiden.The point being that the President while notably the head of the Executive branch is also a huge meddler as the head of the government in every branch of the government whether through direct intervention or fundraising support.And really, it’s nothing important enough for you to exhibit your frustration and engage in sophomoric personal attacks.Play nice, Teddy.

          2. ted

            I fell asleep in charm school, but managed to stay away during civics.  Seems like you did the opposite.  It reminds me of that famous saying: it’s better to be a smartass than a dumbass. You remind me of some of my old law school classmates.  They’d hijack the class with endless soliloquies long on words and emotion, but short on sense or reason or facts.  I’m pretty sure they also believed their farts constituted “singing in the shower.”  I’m sure you’re the same way.

          3. JLM

            @61d0f69973f8cf8488f16d76a2af9be7:disqus What clever repartee, Teddy.  Clever beyond words.  High brow stuff, really.  So thoughtful and insightful.  Name calling your forte?  When you run out of ideas?Lucky for you, you seem to be both.Sigh, tedious, boring, small.

          4. Gkaider

            where is this crap coming from

  7. markslater

    I’m inFar more interesting to me though is POPVOX. Some time ago i wrote on here about how our government system needs to be more accountable – and there has to be a technology that can bridge the gap between the popular sentiment and the senators vote. Its so completely backward that we send a person off to washington and “entrust” in him or her to Do us good. it was designed for the times of horseback riding and carrier pigeons. Its broken and corrupt and needs fixing. Our elected officials should have realtime access to their district sentiment on issues they are voting on. This will begin to uncouple the lobbyists and drive a much needed transparency lens in to the going on – on the hill. If this is what POPVOX are trying to do (and it looks like they are) this is the single most exciting and transformative thing i have seen on the web in a years. you can keep your facebooks and your twitters – this is the future of a governmental system that my children will benefit from. 

    1. ShanaC

      I keep wondering how accountable in real time we should have our politicians be. I see the challenge of real time as a more advanced version of some of the issues created by our founders, and discussed in literature like the federalist papers. Just because I may be part of a majority opinion in real time doesn’t make that opinion morally good.

      1. raycote

        It is surely only a matter of time before new social-network-based political control structures evolve to replace our present forms of indirect-representative-democracy with more distributed, directly-representative-democratic methods.These more organic algorithm driven social-network based political control possibilities will surely offer us a vastly improved set of social decision making knee-jerk inertial dampening opportunities than are afforded us by our present motley crew of panicky politicians in search of their next election funding fix?

        1. Dave Pinsen

          What is your second paragraph (itself comprised of one sentence) supposed to mean?

          1. raycote

            I’m seriously dyslexic, seriously. Textual input/output is a lot of work for me.Indeed that was a prime example of a run on sentence even for me!I noticed how laughable it was before I pressed the post button but was too lazy to break it down into proper shorter sentences.Sorry!I was speaking to the issue that social network based democratic mechanics could lead to dangerous realtime overreactive decision making by the public.I was making the point that future social-network driven political mechanisms afford both the power and scope to easily address such concerns. Such systems would have to incorporating some form of inertial dampening over the speed of our collective political decision making process.

          2. Dave Pinsen

            Now that you’ve explicated, I don’t think it was your dyslexia alone that made me question what you wrote. I was speaking to the issue that social network based democratic mechanics could lead to dangerous realtime overreactive decision making by the public.That sounds like you’re talking about the perils of direct democracy (i.e., descent into mob rule).I was making the point that future social-network driven political mechanisms afford both the power and scope to easily address such concerns. Such systems would have to incorporating some form of inertial dampening over the speed of our collective political decision making process.The founders created such a system: the Senate. Recall that, in their initial design, Senators were elected by state legislatures, rather than directly by the people. That was deliberate attempt to make them less reflexively responsive to the public in real time, and to make the Senate a more deliberative body. It also served to strengthen the power of the states with respect to the federal government.

          3. raycote

            Dave – Your equation stated blowdirect democracy = descent into mob ruleYou are a-priori dismissing all possible future democratic structures that may evolve atop organically disturbed social networking as simple mob rule. We are not at the end of history in regard to such possibilities.The more probable outcome is that  disturbed democratic social control mechanisms based on social networking structures will evolve into an analogue akin to signaling regulation in human biology.Yes! This will not happen tomorrow.But I don’t think it is all that far off.

      2. Marci

        A great point, Shana! Think of it this way: Congress is ALREADY hearing from constituents on a variety of issues – those messages are just not public, and if you disagree, you don’t know to send in your counterpoint to help balance the debate. POPVOX affords that opportunity. The question of whether a Member of Congress should vote based on their own assessment of the issues or just as a reflection of constituent sentiment is a philosophical one… Most members fall somewhere on a continuum between the two extremes. In my experience (watching the proverbial sausage be made), Members use constituent input as a significant data point in making an informed decision. Making that input public helps constituents that are holding Members accountable have a better idea of the myriad points of views that go into the mix. That not only makes Members of Congress more informed, but their constituents too!



        1. markslater

          the response i just received:Dear Mr. Slater,      Thank you for contacting me regarding the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act (S. 968).  As always, I value your input on this and all issues, and appreciate hearing from you.      Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced S. 968 on May 12, 2011.  The PROTECT IP Act aims to provide law enforcement with tools to stop websites dedicated to online piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods, which range from new movie and music releases to pharmaceutical drugs and consumer products.  I understand your concerns about online information sharing and censorship.  Currently, S. 968 awaits further consideration by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, of which I am not a member.  Should this legislation come before the full Senate for debate, I will certainly consider it with your thoughts in mind.      Again, thank you for sharing your views with me.  Should you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact me or visit my website at www.scottbrown.senate.gov.       Sincerely,     Scott P. Brown     United States Senator

          1. Marci Harris

            An admirable response time! 

    2. fredwilson

      i sure hope so

  8. Guest

    Only  the self-righteoustech industry and criminal hacker pirates have the audacity to want to be abovethe law. Here it is in simple terms:  There is a taxi-driver industry that rightly claims thattaxi drivers should not be held accountable if you unknowing drive abank-robber to a bank. The taxi (tech) industry bitches about regulations andgained a safe-harbor exemption that they would not prosecuted for bank robbery. Claiming “neutrality” and see no evil, some taxi driversdrive bank robbers to banks, happily take a share of the profits like in thoseFast and Furious Movies. Then the taxi drives say, we can’t even help you identify whorobbed the bank unless you have a warrant  – this is what Google does.  Then the hypocritical tech industry/Google goes running tothe police when someone steals their IP. Protect IP may not be perfect, but the tech industry,people who signed that letter are flaming hypocrites for not being able to comeup with a better solution.  The sad factis that they just want to be above the law and can’t accept the adultresponsibility of grownups having to live with the rule of law. 

    1. fredwilson

      the DMCA is the better solution. it is the law of the land and it works. we don’t need legislation that film studios and the music industry paid for



      2. Guest

        The DMCA works? If the DMCA works you should tell the film studios and music industry that they are wasting their money on legislation that they “paid for.” Of course criminal hackers and code monkeys know more than grownups running the music and film industry on how to run their industries. 

        1. Prokofy

           Guest is my new boyfriend for sure!

      3. Prokofy

        The DMCA was conceived of by your pals at the EFF and other backers of the “California Business Model” (Fred, I would never know you lived in New York!) as a sop, a distraction, a stop-gap for REALLY dealing with IP rights.It forces people to endlessly chase the problem of IP protection case by case in a make-work situation where they have to constantly file to platform providers and try to get action. Only those with deep pockets and lawyers can play the DMCA paper chase game. It’s not a principled solution.

        1. fredwilson

          it strikes exactly the right balance of protecting rights holders whileallowing innovation

    2. Morgan Warstler

      Technologists are “above” the law, because only technology improves the lives of people.

      1. Guest

        Unless this is a troll comment – it does seem dumb enough tobe a troll comment (Morgan does seem to have a profile) this is a perfectexample of a self-righteous code monkey thinking he should be above thelaw.  First of all, not only technology improves the lives ofpeople.  Hard working taxi drives andthe people who serve you food also improve the lives of people. You should apologizethem, but jerks never apologize. Second, If you improve the lives of people, like taxidrivers or farmers, you still have to obey the law.  There would be much less technology if there was not laws toprotect IP. Third, taxi drives are smart enough to know that theyhave to follow the law.  If they take acut of a bank robbery or referring people to whores, they know they are goingto jail – but jerks like Morgan think they should be above of law.

        1. Morgan Warstler

          You COMPLETELY miss the point.  Sure moms and taxi drivers “improve the lives” of people.Of course, what I’m talking about is economic growth inregards to the “law” – as in whatever actually grows our economy should be legal…Which leads to my basic theme that: government doesn’t grow the economy, technology and innovation does.Good government then is best which governs least, laws that promote the fastest technical innovation are good laws.So again let me say this, so you can understand it:  ANY law which inhibits technical innovation is BAD law – and it is likely caused by some douchebag rent seeker trying to use the law to keep new technologies from making him obsolete.The hacker mindset is the libertarian mindset, and the laws should be written BY THEM, not by their inferiors.And douchebag?  If oil and food could be copied there would be riots in the streets if doing so was illegal.Property rights extend to the atomic, not the digital.  And you won’t be able to grasp this BUT the reason is because doing so actually harms PROPERTY RIGHTS.We don’t call jaywalking as bad as murder, because it denies the horrid tragedy of loss of life…  digital copyright is not anything like atomic theft, and those that PRETEND it is the same, are actual the same people who want to ruin people’s rights to atomic property.10:1 says you are a Democrat.

          1. Guest

            “Thehacker mindset is the libertarian mindset, and the laws should be written BYTHEM, not by their inferiors.”If you can’t see whatis wrong with viewing other people as inferior and arguing for an government ofthe elite (hacker elite???), I hope your problem is only a  very limited(technical only?) education.  Giving you the benefit of the doubt that your have very badwriting skills that make you look more jerkish than you are in real life,  I would suggest rewriting, Technologists are”above” the law, because only technology improves the livesof people. as “Laws should besparingly and carefully applied to new technology because new technology isresponsible for two-thirds of long-term economic growth.” And rewrite ,  “The hacker mindset is the libertarian mindset, and the laws shouldbe written BY THEM, not by their inferiors.” as, “Libertarian hackers believe that their input in thedemocratic process with regards to the Internet should be strongly consideredbecause of their computer-expertise.”

          2. Morgan Warstler

            If it was 2/3, I’d be more exacting… since 99% of human advancement comes exclusively from technology gains, and only a small segment of society delivers those gains… by building on each others work… I’ll stick with speaking about the “law” as if t is government and government people AND I’ll stick like acting as if those shit-brains don’t matter.ONLY technology improves lives for certain.  We’re not sure at all that government has… because we don’t have enough comparables sans government – but the evidence supports less government.please fix your spacing, it is far more ridiculous than bad grammar.

          3. Guest

            I can see that you never had or failed Elementary Economics.  Technology is far from the only source of economic growth.  The increase in capital has a share (far from 100% as some capitalists claimed in the past).  Likewise the increase in labor quality, also contributes to economic growth. If schools  trained you to write or think better, you would be more productive, Granted this forum software is bad at taking MS Word cut and pastes – not even showing the mistake in the “what you see” screen.  It also let me “like” my own post.  But the investors in this software (AVC) are not going to dancing in the street when you copy/steal a copy of this software and sell or use it for free.  They will sue you.Good look applying for jobs with “shit-brains” if you are really posting under your real name.  If you are teachable and stop calling people shit-brains and inferior, you might get a better job, contribute to society more and even if lucky, contribute to a technology advancement. Even worse, like most overconfident, under-educated (typical teenagers) you have no idea what you don’t know.  

          4. Morgan Warstler

            learn to use google.  learn to think past the smallest interpretation of the arguments you think are being put forward.  I guarantee you the stuff I’m slinging is grade A rocketfuel, if you can’t chaff wheat it, forgive me for yawning.learn to answer specifics raised by thought experimentshttp://bleedingheartliberta…

          5. Prokofy

            Keep talking, you’re an excellent explication of what’s wrong with the geek cult — the belief that this cultic minority should be “writing the laws” or that “code is law” and not any kind of democratic majority.Property rights indeed extend to the digital — there is no court or authority that claims that property and law stops at the door of the atomic. What an absurdity — it’s a cybernetic fiction which you are trying to impose on reality. If you harm people’s livelihood copying illegally it doesn’t matter if *you* think the crime is “less bad” — you’ve harmed another.Yes “Guest” is right — an argument for rule by a hacker elite — and we must oppose this with every fiber of our beings.

          6. Morgan Warstler

            Normally, you get things right Prokofy, so you’ll just need to keep thinking about this one.The extension for property rights to the digital reduces the imperative demand we respect them with the atomic.Who “owns” a piece of land, a morsel of food, a dirty old shoe is so important there should be no public spaces, no commons – we need to be far more aggressive in establishing these rules.So in fact, you cannot actually “own” the digital, precisely because you having it in no way keeps another person from having it.Let me say this another way, the thing that gave DVDs value was not the movie digitally copied on top of it, it was the plastic it was pressed on.If someone attempted to steal your DVD, most folks would say you were legally justified in shooting the thief in the back as they ran from your house.But if they made a copy of the movie, and left you with yours, and you just punched him in the face, most folks would think you were too dangerous to be left roaming free.I’m 100% worried about further diminishing the property rights of plastic, and you are weakening those rights – because you don’t get this: rights come from what “most folks” will extend us in their world view, rights come from guns and personal credible threats – they can be eroded at any time, and I’m radically rationally realistic about how precarious those rights are.Governments only exist because enough folks with physical property fear having it stolen from them – and once they have secured that property, property owners interest in government tend to fall off very, very quickly.I favor smaller government, and that means being realistic about the effect of trying to broaden the definition of ownership to something that can be copied infinitely.

          7. Guest

            This is not only legally completely wrong but downright dangerous to have anyone believing: “If someone attempted to steal your DVD, most folks would say you were legally justified in shooting the thief in the back as they ran from your house.”You are not bright enough to evaluate the legal situation, so unless you want to spend the rest of your life in jail for murder (of a thief), DON’T EVER SHOOT ANYONE.

          8. ShanaC

            Ain’t nothing wrong with being a Democrat

          9. Morgan Warstler

            Except that part about giving real people skeevies.

          10. Guest

            There is a “thought experiment.”  Suppose someone wants to insult democrats (which I am not) and insult many others as inferior shit-brains.   If this person ever plans to apply for a job in the future, should he post such insults under his real name?  Unfortunately, I think advocating  shooting DVD thiefs has even eliminated the possibility of working as a security guard, with good reason since we can’t have teenage shoplifters being shot.  Fortunately and ironically, the state Morgan hates will take care of Morgan and his family if he can’t do it himself.

          11. ShanaC

            Sorry for replying again.Actually, even though I think overall technology has made me happier and healthier, I do think at times we should have a legal system that doesn’t allow us to introduce technology willy-nilly.It is the gun problem – guns kill criminals, as well as kids. we therefore do regulate guns to some degree – so why shouldn’t we regulate technology?

          12. Morgan Warstler

            1. guns rock.  so your premise is invalid.  if you want to have an example, come up with a premise I’ll agree with.  Remember texas beats ny and ill.2. I have spent lots of time around pols and government folk, they are almost entirely second raters.  meaning I see them them as the kind of folks you pay to get your way and nothing more.  my entire argument is an appeal to our better nature, that none of us should engage in their whore’s game.I mean as pols go – I like george bush, I like newt gingrich, I like rick perry – but the ONLY reason I like them is the part where they admit whats called by libertarians the “knowledge problem” – they admit it is IMPOSSIBLE to out think the market, to conceive of alll the variables to make a decision, they don’t resent millions of other making decisions without their input. Obama can’t STAND it.It’s basic math… raw capitalism pushes the decisions to each end agent… each guy making a small decision in his own small space. It’s like chaining everyone’s PC into a giant mesh processor – whereas top down centralized control is like a silly old mainframe, long ago forgotten.I know that you have little bugaboos where in just that case you want to be the boss of everybody – guns, new tech, etc.The future is all about letting go, finding the state where you are happiest and living there, and hoping their system is sustainable.

    3. raycote

      I thing your example is far to simple to have any relevance to the topic at hand here.Emerging new network-based-economies exhibit complexity at an organic scale.This implies a very cautious step by step incremental risk management approach to entrenching new rules and constraints.Fools rush in and all that!Then again politicians have got to get election funding somewhere? 

    4. Gregory Magarshak

      Dude, the law is made by people. Once upon a time the law said people should be slaves. What are you trying to prove with your examples?

      1. Guest

        This is the most common argument criminals use to justify breaking the law.  Sometimes the laws are wrong (slavery, the Third Reich) so why obey the law.These idiot hackers usually use the example of slavery having the stupidity to compare themselves (people stealing for their own gain) to people who sacrificed something (money, jail time, their lives) to fight unjust laws of slave holding states or unjust Nazi laws.And these idiot hackers can’t even see that slave holders stole slaves work – the EXACTLY THE SAME THING THEY DO.

  9. William Carleton

    Thanks for the introduction to Popvox. Very cool. Another great information resource is OpenCongress. Here’s what they have on the bill: http://www.opencongress.org…

  10. Glenn Markman

    I am enjoying reading your blog and you inspired me to create one that’s more specific in addressing the west coast/east coast real estate markets.  The link is http://siliconyc/wordpress/.  If you get a moment, I would love for you to check it out.  In fact, there’s a mention of Etsy.  I’d like to know if you think I’m on the right path.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Just what the world needs, another blog. Seriously, post a picture of your cat on it now and be done with it. For the vast majority of us (primarily those who aren’t famous in RL), blogging is a complete waste of time. People care what Fred Wilson has to say because he’s famous in the tech/VC world. The rest of us can count on one hand the number of individuals who care what we think. Might as well just talk to those people.

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        Have a nice weekend Dave…. 😉

        1. Dave Pinsen

          You too, Dave (maybe I’ll summon the energy to update my blog over the weekend). 

  11. Morgan Warstler

    Lie down with government dogs to try to steal from Big Cable and Telecom and you get fleas like PROTECT IP – plus a whole lot more coming down the pike.All of you need to stop running to the damn government… these people are fools, none of them have an ounce of real value.Repent Fred Wilson!  Lead technologists back to their anarcho-capitalist roots, refuse to let the parasites matter, resist all of their bromides, their central planning, and their technocrat bullshit.Also, see as many Fatboy Slims shows in your lifetime as possible.

  12. Carl J. Mistlebauer

    A VC blog about politics! There are somethings that the government does do halfway decently. Having been in business for 30 years I remember when the world was coming to an end everything time the EPA came up with something, or how Affirmative Action, ADA, Immigration reform, FMLA, NAFTA and or a whole host of other policies with initials, were the downfall of capitalism.Business adapted and moved on.Now what the real issue is, is that government has become used by special interests to promote the interests of one industry and or sector over another.  We no longer find ways to solve our problems within our industry but rather we run to the government to protect us.This legislation is about as bad of an idea as is the healthcare reform legislation; they address no problem nor create anything but rather they reward one sector or one group of interests at the expense of another.  Sadly, in this case is you have movie stars and rock stars lined up against…VC firms, techies, and entreprenuers? Thats just a popularity contest rather than governing…..logic against popularity.

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Good point Carl.  Deserves a ‘like’.

      1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        Thanks Dave…I love reading this blog but I have to acknowledge that I am out of my league when it comes to VC and Tech!  I have only voted 3 times since 1976 and I am done now!This is how politics works:State announces a new tax incentive to attract new businesses to the state in an effort to create jobs.  We were planning to dramatically expand and build two new manufacturing facilities and end up eventually create 900 jobs…but the state turned us down because we were in an “unattractive” industry.So, being the crafty little devil that I am I thought about it and then decided to have the folks in our German office visit with a country in Eastern Europe and see if they had any desire to entice an apparel manufacturer to relocate.  Got a really great offer from the Czechs….which I then fowarded to our Governor….with a threat to move. Before you knew it we got accepted into the program, which was worth millions of dollars, and the city, county, and local chamber all kicked in!  The deal on the second plant was even sweeter!Didn’t create one job that we wouldn’t have had created normally!  The reality is, especially in plastics and other certain industries is that they have decentralized their operations…where before they may have one or two large plants they now have 15 or 20 plants all so they can capitalize on the various tax programs governments have.  Once the tax benefits run out the company shuts down and relocates.I call it job extortion….while I am trying to raise funding for my company now I already have deals in place with various state and local governments for matching grants and job creation tax grants.  Basically, for 1.5 million in funding I am able to garner 2 million in tax credits for the jobs we will create and another 1 million in an interest free matching loan….oh, and one state just threw in no corporate taxes for the first two years!Its DISGUSTING as all I want to do is get funded and then go own my market and make money….but since I had the free time I figured it wouldn’t hurt to tap into the government….I think VC should move to the midwest and or south and tap into this gravy train….its just would be a value added service to their investors!

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          Good job Carl.  I’m not critiquing those who get gov funding, just get irritated at those who do the two face thing.With several plants, the upside is better access to those who have what it takes to do something bigger via the growth of the company.I knew I was taking a big step doing something via disruptive AI pushing toward the goal of Artificial General Intelligence from a Midwest address… game plan is to get Midwest money within the funding makeup and spread to other geographicals. Talking with one probable source right now, yet all things being Midwest, I have to be patient…. they’ve been burned too many times as Angels due to the taggers getting sweeter/better equity positions.My overall vision is to truly disrupt in a consumer friendly way and be a step ahead of the doom/gloomers (your computer is going to wipe your life away… so buy-) because I do know the consumer and I have faith…The flexibility of the vision transcends and allows the medium sized urban areas all over attain better productivity.  It is just a matter of using the best in talent and develop something that will truly change lives and not be hung on vanity/ego/greed…Once again, good job… treat your employees in their different locales right and be rewarded.

  13. Dave W Baldwin

    Good job with this Fred.Next step is to send copies to everyone and hopefully some more buzz happens that refer and/or quote parts of the letter.Have a good weekend.

  14. Todd_Andelin

    I’m not political either…But-obama is a pathetic leader, especially in terms of economics.How can anyone or any country progress with a massive cloud of debt hanging over their head?The “obama bubble” has popped.

  15. Dave Pinsen

    On Fred’s colleague Albert’s blog yesterday, I attempted to connect the dots between the VCs’ positions on immigration, ideas, and IP. Rather than make the point again here, I’ll simply link to Albert’s blog, which could use more visitors: Taking a Stand on Protect IP.

  16. paramendra

    This political action on the part of VCs is telling. So much of nonsense has filled up the political space precisely because you guys have been so “apolitical.” 

  17. hotelmymood

    This implies a very cautious step by step incremental risk management approach to entrenching new rules and constraints.NYC Hotel Deals

  18. Francesco


  19. Terry J Leach

    I’d like to sign this petition and I’ve signed previous letter to my representative about the visa for immigrant entrepreneurs, but I can sign this letter.  I have an account on Votizen but for whatever reason now login can only happen with a Twitter or Facebook account login.  I really HATE the login with a social network account such as Facebook or Twitter. Why can’t I login with my Votizen or my DISQUS account?  I will not sign any letter using the Votizen service.

  20. Prokofy

    Filing a resounding “NO” vote — IP needs to be protected and this is a good bill taking care of concerns about the effect on “innovation”.I notice your “Votizen” doesn’t let me have a NO vote.Typical geek thing.

  21. Chopper

    Ha, just read the post from a month ago to refresh. I’d say the purpose of facebook, google, twitter is to make money, not to equalize earth. I don’t think for a second their investors care about equalizing anything vs. stock price…so that sort throws the baby out with the bathwater…on the value of eric schmidts warning to lawmakers…

  22. Leo B

    You can go here to sign a petition against the Protect IP act here:  http://act.demandprogress.o…

  23. Cheap android tablet

    I think it’s not a good legislation of IP protection.