Google protests SOPA on home page

Jens Meyer / AP file

Google has made no secret of its opposition to the controversial anti-piracy measures in Congress. But now the search giant is contesting the bills by adding a protest Wednesday on its home page, the same page where those lovable Google doodles are often found.

While it’s not the Internet blackout that some sites, including Wikipedia, are planning, the protest will add to the growing chorus of voices saying the proposed laws are dangerous.

“Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet,” Samantha Smith, a Google spokeswoman, said in a statement to on Tuesday. “So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our US home page.”

As Red Tape’s Bob Sullivan wrote, opponents of the legislation — the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, and Protect IP Act (PIPA) — are gathering strength; previous supporters in both houses of Congress appear to be backing off, and President Barack Obama has expressed concern. 

Vote on both bills had been scheduled in the coming weeks, and it appears those votes will be delayed.

( is a joint venture of Microsoft and Comcast/NBC Universal. Comcast/NBC Universal is listed as a supporter of SOPA on the House Judiciary Committee website. On Tuesday, Microsoft itself said it opposes SOPA as it is “currently drafted.”)

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said previously that the bills “go after all the wrong problems,” and threaten free speech and due process. Schmidt described the bills as technologically difficult, including “giving copyright holders the right to delete links from the Internet and criminalizing the indexing of the content by search engines,” the AP reported.

“There are a whole bunch of issues involved with breaking the Internet and the way it works,” he said.

Of course, that didn’t stop media mogul and recent Twitter-joiner Rupert Murdoch from tweeting over the weekend that Google is a “piracy leader” that “streams movies free, sells advts around them. No wonder pouring millions into lobbying” against SOPA and PIPA.

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