Battle against SOPA legislation is hot subject at CES

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Celia Kang
Washington Post

January 13, 2012

… Two bills circulating in Congress would help Hollywood titans, record labels and pharmaceutical firms enforce copyright infringement laws online. But proposals have drawn the ire of some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names who worry that the bills give law enforcement too much power to shut down their sites. The Senate version of the bill is expected to head to the floor for a vote later this month.

Social news site Reddit said it would blackout its service next week in protest of the legislation. The Consumer Electronics Association, the trade group the organizes CES, has been a staunch critic of the bills, too, with Chief Executive Gary Shapiro making it his policy rallying cry to conference-goers.

“The overwhelming tone of Washington remains hostile to innovation, entrepreneurship and business,” Shapiro said in a statement. His group has been handing out black buttons that lead people to, a Web site set up to oppose the bills.

As debate over the anti-piracy measures filled the hallways and panel discussions of the CES, some at the conference tried to focus on other policy matters. Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren said he is focusing on royalty fees for artists’ performing rights. “We have our hands full with that,” he said. Samsung Electronics executives said they are far more concerned about getting more government airwaves into the hands of the private sector.

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