OVERNIGHT TECH: Tea Party group slams online copyright bill

THE LEDE: The opposition to Sen. Patrick Leahy's (D-Vt.) Protect IP or PIPA Act got a lot broader this weekend when the Tea Party Patriots came out against the legislation on Facebook. The conservative umbrella group has almost 850,000 supporters on Facebook and linked to an editorial from Demand Progress executive director David Segal and Don't Censor the Net executive director Patrick Ruffini on Saturday, arguing the coalition of political opposition from the right and left shows the bill is bad for consumers.

"This is very interesting. Left and right both opposing severe government overreach in the area of intellectual property. Have your own website? Maybe the government will shut it down tomorrow...without any notice to you," Tea Party Patriots posted to its profile. "Republicans are going to introduce this in the House, Democrats in the Senate. WHAT??? Big Labor, Hollywood, U.S. Chamber of Commerce all in this together...against you."

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A coalition of over 350 firms sent a letter to every member of Congress last week urging them to pass the legislation, which would significantly expand the government's authority to shut down websites associated with copyright infringement. Comcast, Ford Motor Company, Major League Baseball and Wal-Mart were among the firms signing the letter under the leadership of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The bill is currently on hold in the Senate.

Scoop: Facebook forming PAC to back candidates

Facebook confirmed to Hillicon Vally on Monday that it is forming a political action committee with an aim of funding candidates that share the social networking firm's "goals of promoting the value of innovation to our economy while giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected." The social networking firm has steadily increased its Washington presence over the past three years and recently added several former Republican political operatives ahead of the 2012 campaign. Facebook is still viewed favorably by both parties but the firm is likely looking to avoid some of the difficulties that have plagued other tech firms like Google as they grow larger and face increasing criticism from competitors and the media.

FB to offer $10 million in free ad space for small biz: Facebook said Monday it will offer 200,000 businesses a $50 credit towards free online ad space. The offer is part of a partnership between Facebook, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business. The program also includes an effort to educate small business owners on how to use Facebook to reach new customers. 

House E&C members tell feds to go easy on AT&T/T-Mobile: Six GOP members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said any conditions imposed on the AT&T and T-Mobile deal should be narrow if the merger is approved in a letter sent last week to the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission. The Justice Department sued to block the $39 billion deal, arguing it would violate antitrust laws by stifling competition in the wireless industry. AT&T has vowed to fight the lawsuit in court but has indicated a willingness to settle DOJ's concerns.

Schumer calls for FTC probe of OnStar: The senior Democratic Senator from New York called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate automobile communication system OnStar Monday for recent changes to its privacy policy. OnStar sent emails to its customers earlier this month notifying them that the company would continue to track the location of vehicles even after customers cancel their OnStar service and that current and former customers must contact the company to opt out of the program. OnStar also said it was reserving its right to sell driver data to third parties.

Said. "You think back to the semiconductor revolution, the age of computing, and of course, the Internet -- and most recently, with regard to the Internet, the rise of social networks connecting hundreds of millions of people around the world in milliseconds. Perhaps more importantly are the behavioral changes taking place as a result. The way in which we go online, represent our identities; stay connected to friends, family and colleagues; and of course, share information, knowledge, ideas and opinions is fundamentally transforming the world -- the way we live, the way we play, and the way we work."

--President Obama at Monday's Town Hall with LinkedIn

ICYMI:

TV is still the most popular source for local news, according to the Pew Research Center.

The leaders of the House Republicans' "Young Guns" took part in an event at Facebook on Monday.

A petition to end software patents has garnered enough signatures to prompt an official White House response.

President Obama spent Sunday playing to a key part of his base: Silicon Valley tech bigwigs.

Senate Commerce chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) stuck up for the FCC's net neutrality rules.

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