18 January 2012

Sopapillas not SOPA/PIPA!*

Fortunately, it appears that my Congressional delegation is united in opposition to SOPA (the House bill), and its companion Senate bill PIPA, which is scheduled for a vote next week. Because of that upcoming vote, though, and because I don't always trust Snowe and Collins to follow through based on their expressed concerns, I just sent them both the following:

I am writing you to express my opposition to the Protect IP Act. I understand that your office has expressed concern about this measure, and I do hope that you will vote against this bill when it comes up next week. While I certainly understand and support the need to protect intellectual property, applying a ham-handed, scorched earth policy such as this is not an appropriate way to address the problem. It is akin to destroying the Interstate Highway system because somewhere, at some time, it might be used by criminals. As much as it would stifle the free exchange of ideas, it would also stifle innovation and commerce.

As a nation, these are not losses we can afford, especially given the current economic and geopolitical situation. While this bill may be well-intentioned, it is not well thought out, and I appreciate your help in defeating it.

My Representative, Chellie Pingree, has come out more forcefully, indicating her intent to vote against SOPA, but I still sent her a version of the above thanking her for her opposition. If you're a US citizen and you haven't taken a few minutes to contact the people who represent you in Congress, why not? If you don't know what to write, just copy, paste, and adapt what I wrote. Go ahead, I give you permission.

*I don't know that Congress should mandate sopapillas either, actually, but I probably wouldn't get too upset if they did.

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