Congressman Jim Himes on SOPA

December 9, 2011 -

While we're likely not going to post every letter we get from readers who receive some sort of response from their elected representatives concerning SOPA and Protect IP, the following response received by ECA president Hal Halpin from congressmen Jim Himes (D- Connecticut’s 4th District) is worth reading - only because it strikes a balance between thinking free speech and rights (like due process and fair use) should be protected with copyright holders' interests.

Sure, it's probably a form-letter response written by an intern or a junior staffer (and it contains some language we’d expect to come out of the mouth of a lobbyist representing Hollywood), but at least Himes is talking the measured and reasonable talk. Read the response letter below in its entirety:

Dear Mr. Halpin,

Thank you for contacting me about issues related to internet safety and internet protocol (IP) protections. I appreciate your comments and am grateful that you took the time to contact me.

Currently, there are a number of bills in Congress that aim to address safe internet practices and copyright issues as they relate to web usage. Everyone knows that the Internet harbors bad faith actors who infringe upon U.S. copyrights. Often located offshore, these operators target American consumers and facilitate transactions using the services of search engines, advertising networks, and credit card companies. While reasonable protections are in place for taking down rogue websites or content hosted within the United States, it is less clear to lawmakers how to regulate this type of activity when it originates offshore.

Among the various pieces of legislation targeting this type of illegal activity, H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), has generated the most intense debate, with active advocacy groups on both sides of the bill. SOPA would allow the Attorney General to seek injunctions against foreign websites that steal and sell American innovations and products. The bill increases criminal penalties for individuals who traffic in counterfeit medicine and military goods and increases coordination between IP enforcement agencies in the United States.

Proponents of SOPA, including the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, believe that the bill protects American jobs and American intellectual property, in this case, content that illegally appears on the internet. To these parties, online content theft means declining incomes, reduced health and retirement benefits, and lost jobs.

Opponents of the bill support SOPA's stated goal of providing additional enforcement tools to combat foreign rogue websites that are dedicated to copyright infringement and counterfeiting, but do not support the bill as written, believing that it would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities, private rights of action, and technology mandates that could require monitoring of web sites and social media. These groups, which include Google, Facebook, AOL, Twitter and Yahoo, are concerned that the bill sets a precedent in favor of Internet censorship and could jeopardize our nation's cybersecurity.

I agree that while the bill may be well intentioned, we need to do more to ensure that this legislation does not expose companies to new liabilities or infringe upon Americans' first amendment rights, or threaten the vitality of the internet.

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on SOPA on November 16, 2011, with witnesses testifying on behalf of both the content providers and the search engines. While I do not sit on this Committee, I followed this hearing closely as I understand how important both internet safety and freedom of speech issues are to my constituents. I will continue to follow this matter, and will be certain to keep your views in mind when this bill, and others like it, come before the full House of Representatives for a vote.

If you have any additional questions regarding this or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact my office. You can sign up for my newsletter and find more information on my views and my work in Congress by visiting my official website at himes.house.gov.

Sincerely,

Jim Himes
Member of Congress

Let's all hope that more members of congress are thinking the way Himes is about our rights online, and let's also hope that Himes will walk-the-walk to match that talk when it comes time to make a decision on this or any other bill related to this hot-button issue.


Comments

Re: Congressman Jim Himes on SOPA

Yea.

My congresscritters, Schumer, Gillibrand and Gary Ackerman all have sent me form letters basically saying they're 100% behind SOPA and/or Protect-IP.

Douches.

Re: Congressman Jim Himes on SOPA

I wonder how much they were paid to be.

 
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james_fudgeyes.05/05/2015 - 6:30am
MattsworknameOn some days conster, i've wanted to rip into subjects like theres no tomarow, but some times, it's just not the time for it.05/05/2015 - 6:00am
MattsworknameConster, thats fine, and I understand what your saying, Im just saying that right now, baltimoore it not a subject to get into right now.05/05/2015 - 5:59am
ConsterMy comment was meant as "maybe people have done less hateful things 'in the name of GG' lately because they've moved on to other hateful activities", not a dig at GG itself.05/05/2015 - 4:29am
ConsterSecond, I based my remark on an actual article about trolls pretending to be Baltimore looters on Twitter using old photos, and their accounts having references to (among others) GG.05/05/2015 - 4:24am
ConsterIanC, EZK: there is nothing 'sick' or 'uncalled for' about what I said. First of all, I specifically said "*The trolls hiding behind* GG", which seperates the people making death and rape threats from GG, which is precisely what GG'ers want.05/05/2015 - 4:22am
MattsworknameHey, just a question, but did GP report on the UK teachers union threatening to report parents for letting kids play 18 plus games?05/05/2015 - 3:30am
Mattsworknamehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVLIgsf6qcs Jason comes to MKX, And you know what, yeah, he is right at home!05/04/2015 - 11:35pm
Mattsworknameequally importat reaons . I find it strange that worf says something i agree with so much, yet i know people who woudl fight bloodily about it. Kinda silly05/04/2015 - 10:56pm
MattsworknameI mysef love both of them, Im a huge fan of wars and trek, and It was a big part of my childhood for different, but e05/04/2015 - 10:55pm
MechaTama31I really liked the first reboot Trek. Of course, I have generally liked other Abrams movies. The newer Trek movie had its moments, but wasn't as good, imho.05/04/2015 - 10:43pm
Craig R.Wife is a huge Wars fan, doesn't think much of Abrams either. So, we've found some common ground...05/04/2015 - 10:39pm
Craig R.I'm more of a Trek than Wars fan, but haven't watched either reboot film, don't care for Abrams05/04/2015 - 10:38pm
MechaTama31RE: Trek vs. Wars, I've always liked both, and although I often hear it said that the fanbases are at odds, I have never seen a shred of that in real life. Online, sure, but the internet amplifies that kind of thing, we all know that.05/04/2015 - 10:23pm
MechaTama31Because GG "tainted" those other opinions, and you couldn't express them without also implying support for all the other crap the jerk faces did.05/04/2015 - 10:19pm
MechaTama31Any GG-related discussion I got involved in, if someone expressed anything even tangentially supportive of anything GG supported, that person was guilty by association of everything GG did (whether they mentioned GG or not).05/04/2015 - 10:18pm
MechaTama31"There's no need for anyone who's not a jerk face to admit to vile actions they didn't commit." That's a nice thought, AE, but that's certainly not how it goes down, even here.05/04/2015 - 10:17pm
Goth_SkunkI for one do agree with him. I always have, as a fan of both franchises. Hopefully with J.J. Abrams doing both the Star Wars AND the Star Trek films, that'll help mend this silly rift between fanbases.05/04/2015 - 9:50pm
MattsworknameWell said MR worf, well said, but I doubt the treks and the star wars fans agree05/04/2015 - 9:44pm
PHX CorpMichael Dorn tells Star Trek and Star Wars fans that both fanbases are all part of the same Scifi family https://twitter.com/akaWorf/status/59528225364038860805/04/2015 - 9:29pm
 

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