|Dear Joseph:Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and has since been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. You will be happy to know that I am leading the charge against this dangerous bill. I am working vigorously to educate other Members of Congress on the real consequences associated with it. More and more of my colleagues are aware of the negative impact this legislation will have on our already struggling economy as well as our freedom to enjoy an open internet.
Websites all over the world offer illegal and pirated goods outside the jurisdiction of United States law enforcement. A number of industries are adversely affected by these practices and have called on Congress to protect their businesses. While I agree with the aim of reducing piracy, I am very concerned with the unintended consequences associated with the approach that SOPA takes. The provisions in SOPA endanger all websites that have user generated content. The bill creates untenable regulations that would force websites to constantly monitor user posts and create a disincentive for entrepreneurs to create new internet businesses. SOPA uses broad definitions that will adversely impact many law abiding companies instead of focusing on the bad actors that should be penalized.
As a former internet entrepreneur I know the negative impact this legislation would have on job creation and our freedom. I believe we must do more to prevent the distribution of pirated goods on the internet, but SOPA is simply not the right approach. Internet entrepreneurs have shown it is possible to distribute music, movies, and books over the internet in a legal and affordable manner. Companies such as Apple, Netflix, and Spotify have used technology to increase access to these products in ways that support the entertainment industry and adhere to strict copyright laws. As Members of Congress we should work to encourage further innovation to expand access to these products and promote economic growth, not censor the internet. Creating jobs is one of my top priorities here in Congress and I will be sure to fight any legislation that will hurt our economic growth.
As you may know, a similar bill has been introduced in the Senate. S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 or PIPA was introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT). This bill is equally as dangerous and is opposed by numerous entrepreneurs and technology companies. PIPA has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary where it awaits further action.
I, along with some of my colleagues in Congress, am working on a bipartisan alternative to SOPA that will protect innovators and entrepreneurs while fighting online piracy. I joined with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and 24 other members in cosponsoring the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade or OPEN Act. This bill will combat the sale of pirated goods while protecting the basic principle of an open internet. Please follow this link to read a recent interview I did with Forbes Magazine in which I discuss these bills.
Thanks to the overwhelming opposition shown by people all over the country leaders in the House and Senate have decided to table both SOPA and PIPA. The online community came together in a show of support for an open internet that Congress could not ignore. Despite this victory, the battle is far from over. I am encouraged by the passion of all those who joined with me in opposing these bills and look forward to working together to find the right solution to online piracy.
Thank you again for contacting me on this important issue, and I hope that my letter addresses your particular concern. If I can be of any further assistance on this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact me at (303) 287-4159. I also encourage you to visit my website (www.polis.house.gov) and sign up to receive my e-newsletter.
Member of Congress