Today is officially SOPA Resistance Day. If you haven’t heard about SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) or PIPA (Protect IP Act), don’t let their names fool you as they’re anything but.
I had emailed my 3 congressmen sometime in December:
I understand that a similar proposal to the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act called Protect-IP will be up for voting in the Senate early next year.
Given the huge opposition from the people against SOPA, I implore that you understand the implications of Protect-IP and not only vote against it, but convince your peers to do so too.
Of course my email to my House rep was worded a bit differently since SOPA is the House bill and PIPA is the Senate bill. Unfortunately I no longer have a copy of that email.
So far I’ve received 2 responses and all I got out of it was “Thanks for your expressing your view. Please sign up for my newsletter.”
So contact your representatives TODAY. Don’t wait till tomorrow or when you think you’ll have some spare time.
Hopefully as more and more people contact them, we’ll be able to stop the destruction of what made the internet great.
Here’s Rep. David Reichert’s response:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the protection of intellectual property on the Internet. I appreciate hearing your views on this matter and welcome the opportunity to respond.
U.S. law enforcement agencies may protect against violations of intellectual property rights when perpetrators are acting within the United States. However, the Internet provides a way for businesses to expand across borders, and poses a challenge for the enforcement of intellectual property rights when violators are acting outside the U.S. Currently, U.S. authorities cannot reach foreign websites offering pirated or counterfeit goods to U.S. citizens.
In response to these concerns, Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) introduced the PROTECT IP Act (S. 968) on May 12, 2011. This legislation would authorize the Justice Department or an intellectual property rights owner harmed by an Internet site “dedicated to infringing activities” to pursue a cause of action against either the registrant of an infringing domain name or an owner or operator of one. Moreover, the bill allows the Justice Department to pursue such actions against registrants, owners, or operators of foreign domain names as well. The bill has been placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar for consideration. Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) in the House of Representatives on October 26, 2011. This legislation would also authorize an action by the Justice Department against registrants, owners, or operators of foreign infringing sites. Though both bills would increase the criminal penalties for those that sell counterfeit goods of certain categories, like counterfeit medicine, the House legislation includes military equipment as a special category.
Promoting and protecting innovation is critical to U.S. businesses remaining competitive in the global economy. Many industries, from pharmaceutical companies to recording studios, depend on intellectual property protections. These industries contribute greatly to the U.S. economy and serve as significant job-creators. At the same time, some have expressed concern that this legislation goes too far, and would lead to government overreach resulting in the chilling of free speech online and the stifling of innovation. As a result of these concerns, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) have released an alternative proposal, called the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act, which would authorize the International Trade Commission to investigate, and if necessary, take action against foreign websites involved in the advertising or selling of counterfeit products. This proposal is based on the premise that the International Trade Commission would be better suited to investigate such issues because of its current investigative role in determining whether certain imports into the U.S. violate U.S. property rights. Rest assured, should this legislation come to the House floor vote a vote, I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to get in touch with me. Your interest and input are valued and I hope to hear from you in the future regarding other matters of importance. I encourage you to visit my website and sign-up for my monthly e-newsletter at http://reichert.house.gov to learn more about other issues impacting the 8th Congressional District and our nation. You can also follow my work online and receive frequent updates on legislation being considered in Congress by visiting me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/davereichert) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/repdavereichert).
David G. Reichert
Member of Congress
Here’s Sen. Patty Murray’s response:
Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act , which is currently pending in the United States House of Representatives. I appreciate knowing your views on this matter.
In the Senate, this legislation would fall under the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee. While I am not a member of that Committee, I want to assure you that I will be following the progress of this bill and will keep your views in mind if this or related legislation comes before the full Senate for consideration.
If you would like to know more about my work in the Senate, please feel free to sign up for my weekly updates at http://murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=GetEmailUpdates. Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
United States Senator
: At least we know Sen. Maria Cantwell is on our side: Internet Censorship Bill Coming Up in Senate in Three Weeks
Nevertheless, Wyden has at least three colleagues from both parties opposed to cloture – Jerry Moran, Maria Cantwell and Rand Paul. They will need a lot of help to block the 60 votes needed to clear cloture and get PIPA to the floor.