Sec. Clinton: No contradiction between Web freedom and IP rights

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Berman noted that opponents of the controversial online copyright bill, the Protect IP Act, had cited Clinton's earlier remarks in arguing the bill would undermine free speech and U.S. opposition to Web censorship in foreign countries.

"When despots shut down the Internet to suppress dissent, the U.S. must condemn it. But that does not mean that governments are defenseless against crime and fraud when it is carried out online," Berman wrote.

Clinton agreed in her reply, noting the State Department has focused on ensuring the Internet is open for people across the globe to express their views, but adding that the State Department will have future opportunities to reiterate its support for intellectual property protections.

Critics of Protect IP and its House counterpart, the Stop Online Piracy Act, argue the bills would jeopardize free speech by requiring search engines, online ad networks and other third parties to cut off access to sites deemed rogue or dedicated to copyright infringement.

Berman, whose district encompasses part of Hollywood, is a co-sponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act. The bill is heavily supported by the entertainment industry and business groups, which argue online copyright infringement is costing them billions in lost revenue and thousands of U.S. jobs.