As most of you are probably already aware on January 18th several sites went dark in protest of the “Stop Online Piracy Act” and the “Protect IP Act”. while these two acts of legislation appear to be for the greater good on their surface they actually give way to the entertainment industry and the US government to be able to virtually control and censor the internet. This to me eerily parallels the “Great Firewall of China”. If you are not familiar with it you should Google it and read up on it (while you can that is :P).
On that day I contacted three of my state’s representatives including Senator Claire McCaskill, Senator Roy Blunt, and Representative Jo Ann Emerson. My message was short and to the point. In it I stated the following…
I am a constituent of Missouri’s 8th Congressional district and I oppose SOPA and PIPA.
SOPA and PIPA would put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won’t have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn’t being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won’t show up in major search engines. SOPA and PIPA would build a framework for future restrictions and suppression.
In a world in which politicians regulate the Internet based on the influence of big money, Wikipedia — and sites like it — cannot survive.
Congress says it’s trying to protect the rights of copyright owners, but the “cure” that SOPA and PIPA represent is worse than the disease. SOPA and PIPA are not the answer: they would fatally damage the free and open Internet.
Of the three I only received one response. That was from Senator Blunt. Mr Blunt’s statment is as follows…
Dear Jesse ,
Thank you for contacting me regarding S. 698, the Protect IP Act.
I do not support the Protect IP Act as it is currently written. American innovation is a cornerstone of our nation’s economic growth, and job creators have lost $135 billion in revenue annually as a result of rogue internet sites. While I believed the bill still needed much work, several months ago, I cosponsored the Senate version of the Protect IP Act because I support the original intent of this bill – to protect against the piracy of lawful content.
Upon passage of this bill through committee, Senate Judiciary Republicans strongly stated that there were substantive issues in this legislation that had to be addressed before it moved forward. I agree with that sentiment. Unfortunately, Senate Leader Harry Reid sought to push forward with legislation that is deeply flawed and still needs much work.
That’s why I withdrew my co-sponsorship for the Protect IP Act.
The right to free speech is a foundation of our democracy, and I strongly oppose sanctioning Americans’ right to free speech in any medium – including over the internet.
I continue to believe that we can come to a solution that will cut off the revenue sources for foreign websites dedicated to counterfeiting and piracy that steal American jobs, hurt the economy, and harm consumers. But the Protect IP Act is flawed as it stands today, and I cannot support it moving forward.
Agai n, thank you for contacting me. I look forward to continuing our conversation on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/SenatorBlunt ) and Twitter ( www.twitter.com/RoyBlunt ) about the important issues f acing Missouri and the country. I also encourage you to visit my website ( blunt.senate.gov ) to learn more about where I stand on the issues and sign-up for my e -newsletter .
United States Senator
For more in depth explanation about PIPA check out the following video…