Google's Schmidt blasts Internet copyright bills

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:18pm EST

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt speaks at The Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts November 15, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt speaks at The Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts November 15, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

Related Topics

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (Reuters) - Google Inc Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt blasted proposed legislation to tighten online copyright regulation on Tuesday, saying the bills would lead to censorship of the Internet.

Intended to combat the trade in pirated movies and music, the two bills would give copyright holders and law enforcement officials added powers to cut off websites and require search engines, payment collectors and others to block access.

"The solutions are draconian," Schmidt said during an appearance at the MIT Sloan School of Management. "There's a bill that would require (Internet service providers) to remove URLs from the Web, which is also known as censorship last time I checked."

Schmidt said content owners like Hollywood studios have a legitimate problem, since increasing trading of pirated movies threatens their revenue.

"Their business models are threatened by theft," Schmidt said. "We don't endorse it. Please don't do it. If you're doing it, stop. I hope that's very clear."

The legislation Schmidt opposed is called the PROTECT IP Act in the U.S. Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Instead, Schmidt recommended regulations based on tracing payments spent at websites offering illegal materials.

The remarks followed a letter to lawmakers opposing the bills from a group of Internet companies including Google, AOL Inc, eBay Inc, Facebook, Yahoo Inc and Twitter.

"We are concerned that these measures pose a serious risk to our industry's continued track record of innovation and job creation, as well as to our nation's cybersecurity," the companies wrote.

(Reporting by Aaron Pressman; Editing by Richard Chang)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
Neurochuck wrote:
And to combat the trade in stolen physical DVDs, CDs etc containing movies and music, a grid of checkpoints and vehicle inspections, and a ban on vehicles or their drivers on a prior convictions or suspect blacklist by presentation of approved IDs at all tollpoints will be implemented as quietly as possible.
Costs will be recouped from users of the transport network.

Nov 16, 2011 12:29am EST  --  Report as abuse
markcwells wrote:
I have tried to rent or buy at least a dozen older movies that are simply not available anywhere. They are not on Netflix, they are not for sale on Amazon, not even on eBay. But they ARE available on pirate movie websites.

I want to pay for these movies. I’m willing to either rent or buy them. I’m sure people who made the movies want me to be able to buy or rent them as well. But they are simply not available through any legal channel.

If the movie industry wants to stop pirating, they need to make more movies available online.

Nov 16, 2011 2:50am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.