Google and the Consumer Electronics Association could cut ties with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the business group’s aggressive support of the PROTECT IP act, legislation that would require search engines and online advertising companies to police websites that sell pirated movies, fake pharmaceuticals and other copied products. They’ve argued the bills would threaten innovation and encourage censorship, and don’t think they should pay dues to a group that so fervently opposes their interests.
Politico says losing Google and the CEA would be “a potentially serious blow to one of Washington’s most powerful lobbies.” The CEA is one of the largest trade groups in the U.S. and Google is, well, Google. Yahoo reportedly left the group earlier over the issue. Still:
Many in the tech industry believe the Chamber is doing the bidding of Hollywood and other deep-pocketed members of the content industry. The Chamber believes the IP bills are needed to stop rogue sites from profiting off the content its members spend millions making.
In testimony before Congress, entertainment companies have vilified Google as a facilitator of online piracy.
The Chamber has blasted a series of blog posts touting both pieces of legislation and orchestrated fly-in trips to D.C. for its content and pharmaceutical industry members — including Eli Lilly, NBCUniversal and Rosetta Stone — to canvass the Hill. It also created a website dedicated to its campaign against rogue sites, FightOnlineTheft.com.
In May, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said the company would continue fighting the measure even if it was signed into law.