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Illustration by Bigshot Toyworks

For Net Neutrality, Piracy, and Patents, What Side Does Big Tech Take?

Big Tech is unified on many issues, including immigration, privacy, and tax reform—but lobbying can also split allies apart.

ISSUE

Soften a patent-infringement penalty

SUPPORTERS
Apple, AT&T, Cisco, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia, Verizon

OPPONENTS
Google, InterDigital, Qualcomm, Samsung

BOTTOM LINE
When companies collaborate on industry standards—say, so cross-platform devices can talk—any involved party that owns a relevant patent must license it fairly to others. The government is now considering whether the penalties for infringing on such a patent—court injunctions and import bans—are too harsh.

ISSUE

Enact net neutrality

SUPPORTERS
Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Yahoo (and many other web firms)

OPPONENTS
AT&T and Verizon (and many other service providers)

BOTTOM LINE
The Federal Communications Commission issued rules in 2010 that prohibit ISPs from discriminating or blocking lawful content on the wired Internet—with looser rules for mobile—but some ISPs are challenging them in court or in practice.

ISSUE

Expand the global software piracy hunt

SUPPORTERS
Microsoft

OPPONENTS
Apple, Cisco, Dell, Google, HP, IBM, Intel

BOTTOM LINE
Microsoft has been pushing states and the federal government to use domestic laws to fight piracy abroad—such as by holding American companies responsible when their foreign contractors use pirated software.

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