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Brin says SOPA puts U.S. on par with oppressive nations

The Google co-founder posts a note on Google+ blasting the controversial anti-piracy legislation, saying it won't accomplish its goals and will limit free speech.

Jay Greene Former Staff Writer
Jay Greene, a CNET senior writer, works from Seattle and focuses on investigations and analysis. He's a former Seattle bureau chief for BusinessWeek and author of the book "Design Is How It Works: How the Smartest Companies Turn Products into Icons" (Penguin/Portfolio).
Jay Greene
2 min read

Google co-founder Sergey Brin blasted the Stop Online Privacy Act in some of the toughest language yet from a corporate executive about the controversial legislation.

Google's Sergey Brin

In a post on the Google+ social network, Brin lamented censorship from regimes in China and Iran, and other countries that have blocked Google's Web sites.

"Thus, imagine my astonishment when the newest threat to free speech has come from none other but the United States," Brin wrote.

He criticized SOPA, authored by Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, and its predecessor in the Senate, the Protect IP Act, as giving the U.S. government and copyright holders too much power. Brin pointed to two of the most controversial provisions--one that would allow the ability to "hijack" domain names and a second that would let the government censor search results "without so much as a proper court trial," Brin wrote. (See CNET's FAQ on SOPA.)

The goal of SOPA is to curb piracy, a reason why the legislation is supported by large copyright holders such as music publishers and the recording industry. Brin wrote that he supports those efforts as well. But he doesn't believe SOPA will actually reduce copyright infringement.

"I am shocked that our lawmakers would contemplate such measures that would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world," Brin wrote.

Yesterday, Brin joined several high-profile Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and executives--including Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, PayPal co-founder Elon Musk, and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang--warning about the dangers of SOPA in an open letter that appeared as a paid advertisement in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other newspapers.