More than perhaps anyone else in Silicon Valley, SV Angel’s Ron Conway knows how important free expression on the Internet can be to allow fledgling technology companies to grow and prosper. Conway has invested in more than 600 technology companies since 1994, so it probably isn’t surprising that he’s emerged as a vocal opponent of the proposed PIPA and SOPA bills circulating in Congress.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Conway said the crucial issue with SOPA is that it would lead to censorship on the web — and that would end up costing jobs. That echoed his remarks at the San Francisco anti-SOPA rally, where he noted the Internet had created and allowed free expression to the public that had never been seen before. As a result, he said the Internet had added 4 million jobs, making it the largest job creator in the U.S.
“We should let technology find new ways of fighting piracy instead of adding more legislation,” Conway told me by phone. That goes along with the key theme of the protest, which he said was, “It’s about innovation, not legislation.”
Of course, Silicon Valley and the entertainment industry have been at odds for years over the issue of piracy and censorship. So how should the two groups bridge that divide? Conway suggested creating a working group between media companies and technology companies to find ways to solve the issues around piracy.