January 18, 2012
We at Etsy have spoken out against legislation in the US Congress, known as SOPA and PIPA, that we believe is unnecessary, over-reaching, and ultimately harmful to the fabric of the Internet. Last November 23, we posted a letter here stating our position (see below) and on December 13, we urged everyone to speak out against SOPA when it was going to be up for vote by the House Judiciary Committee on December 15. The vote was delayed indefinitely and continues to be delayed as your voices are being heard. Some of of the most concerning pieces of the bill are being reconsidered. Thank you for speaking out.
The fight against the legislation is not over, though. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is planning to proceed with a vote on PIPA in the Senate on January 24. We think it's important to make sure lawmakers understand our continuing opposition to the legislation, so we are joining companies like Google in protest by putting a message on our home page today. We know that many Etsy sellers depend on Etsy for their livelihoods so we are limiting the protest to the home page as not to disrupt buying and selling on Etsy, but this is too important for us to remain silent.
To make sure our voices are heard, I will be joining a large group of Etsy employees and concerned members of the local community here in NYC to protest outside the offices of Senator Charles Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today. If you live in the United States, we urge you to contact your representatives by phone to tell them you are opposed to SOPA and PIPA. (You can find their contact info via the US Senate Directory or use "Find Your Representative" on the US House site).
If you don't live in the US, you can make a difference, too. We offer you the advice that Wikipedia is offering to its readers: “Contact your local State Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or similar branch of government. Tell them you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and any similar legislation. SOPA and PIPA will affect sites outside of the United States, and actions to sites inside the United States (like Wikipedia) will also affect non-American readers — like you. Calling your own government will also let them know you don't want them to create their own bad anti-Internet legislation.”
We invite you to join the discussion in the forums with any thoughts or questions you may have. I’m confident that we can defeat this legislation working together and wanted to let the community know we are taking action.
Original letter posted on November 23, 2011
Lawmakers are debating legislation in the U.S. Congress that we at Etsy believe is unnecessary, over-reaching, and ultimately harmful to the fabric of the Internet.
The legislation — the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House of Representatives — grants copyright owners unprecedented power to block or shut down websites entirely for copyright infringements that are already being successfully addressed via existing laws.
We know that this is a concern for some of you in the Etsy community, too. We wanted to let you know that we have contacted our representatives to oppose this legislation. In doing so, we stand with AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo! and Zynga (see their letter). We also stand with friends in our local New York City community who are against the legislation, Tumblr and Kickstarter.
Our protest of this specific legislation does not mean that we support piracy or platforms that promote piracy. Etsy is a community of creators and we take intellectual property very seriously. Like other major Internet companies, we have a clear policy and set of procedures in place for dealing with infringing content under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We have been successfully working with rightsholders to enforce those policies since Etsy was founded in 2005. But under SOPA, anyone who is a "holder of an intellectual property right harmed by the activities" of even one shop on Etsy, could hypothetically serve our technology partners (e.g. payment processors, hosting services) with a notice that would require them to suspend Etsy's service within 5 days. That means that a trademark violation in one shop could affect everyone’s business.
We are asking our lawmakers to defeat these bills and to work with the Internet community to come up with tailored, appropriate solutions that enhance innovation and creativity, rather than risk harming the foundations of the Internet for everyone based on the actions of a few.
We encourage you to educate yourselves about this legislation, starting with the Protect Innovation site built by some of the Internet companies listed above, many of which you probably use every day. The Protect Innovation site provides a simple tool for you to find your representatives and also provides sample letters that you can edit and send to them.
We hope you'll join us in opposing these bills.