Leading web firms have come out fighting against a US anti-piracy bill, saying it would damage the internet industry.
The pair of bills - the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) - would create an internet blacklist of foreign sites hosting infringing content and make websites liable for user content.
The letter, signed by Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook, Mozilla and more, offers support for the aim of blocking websites that infringe on copyright, but says the bill will hurt online business, cost jobs and damage cyber security.
"Unfortunately, the bills as drafted would expose law-abiding US internet and technology companies to new and uncertain liabilities, private rights of action and technology mandates that would require monitoring of websites," the letter says, pointing to the internet industry's large contribution to GDP.
In particular, the firms are concerned that the bills would "undermine" the safe harbour given under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), which means websites aren't responsible if illegal content is on their site, so long as they take it down when notified.
The firms called for "more targeted" ways to combat infringing websites, and said they "stand ready" to help develop a solution.
Congress started discussing the bills today, with Cnet reporting the hearing started with supporters arguing the law would not be repressive, with Republican Mel Watt saying it was "beyond troubling to hear hyperbolic charges that this bill will open the floodgates to government censorship".
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk