Sent to their respective email addresses today:
The Honorable Representative Jim Hines
The Honorable Senator Joe Lieberman
The Honorable Senator Richard Blumenthal
As one of your constituants I urge you to reject the upcoming bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), H.R.3261. While it’s cleverly named in such a way as to suggest anyone against it clearly supports criminality, the provisions of this legislation are more pirate-like than what it proposes to protect.
Goals for the legislation may have initially been laudable. However, the idea of “prior restraint” of speech without a judicial hearing is beyond disturbing. This law as drafted far oversteps in terms of due process. It’s not just a perfect example of what’s commonly referred to as the “Slippery Slope,” in terms of censorship, but provides for such immediate punitive action that that possible cascade consequences can’t begin to be understood. Interfering with Internet DNS, search engine results, and more put both free speech and jobs at risk. Moreover, the technical requirements are at the same time both vague and onerous. The potential effects on both commercial and Open Source computer programming creation, messaging traffic and more lean heavily toward the detrimental side. And in total, the bill practically begs to send various types of software development off shore.
In theory, I’m all for the goals of the legislation. As a long time Internet entrepreneur with several patents to my name, I’m in favor of protecting the rights of intellectual property owners. This bill unfortunately appears to be a case of legislation drafted of, by and for particular special interests at risk due to their lack of competitiveness. Not by those seeking fairness, equity or lawfulness.
In short, the cure here is far, far worse than the disease. Vote this down. This is among the most potentially damaging pieces of legislation you all have put together this year.