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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KronoThe underlying suggestion most of the articles had that gamers supporting the issue were just the young men stereotype pissed off a lot of people, and sparked the #NotYourShield tag09/18/2014 - 9:41am
Krono@andrew Just two? The whole reason #GamerGate gained real traction was that 9 op-eds including arguments to that effect dropped in 24 hours: http://markdownshare.com/view/a524affd-e679-40be-8aa1-72058065dc2a09/18/2014 - 9:38am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.gog.com/forum/general/double_fine_abandoned_spacebase_df9_development ITT: People who don't know what Early Access is.09/18/2014 - 9:32am
ZippyDSMleeFF2/4 remake now on steam.09/18/2014 - 9:13am
james_fudgeThis what they really think of us: http://www.donotlink.com/framed?54192709/18/2014 - 9:10am
ConsterAh yes, nothing quite says "I take offense to being associated with an awful few" like siding with said awful few.09/18/2014 - 9:07am
Michael ChandraSo be smart, and if you want to be part of the good guys, separate yourself from the bad guys. Don't attack those upset you won't.09/18/2014 - 6:30am
Michael ChandraMeanwhile, Gamergate is tainted and wise people already use a different tag to defend decent arguments. Keeping it up is like going #KKK while arguing about PoC.09/18/2014 - 6:30am
Michael ChandraSo while claiming to be unfairly attacked for the actions of a selected few, you unfairly attack an entire crowd for the actions of a selected few? #notagamer #butahater09/18/2014 - 6:30am
james_fudgeQuiknkold: Let me ask you- how many of those 'gamers are dead' articles did you see here? Because apparently i'm part of some vast conspiracy.09/18/2014 - 5:18am
NeenekoAh, that old straw man. That is one of the ironies about the discussion, the whole point is showing how good people can still have problems with sexism and not realize it.09/17/2014 - 9:11pm
Andrew EisenYes, there have been a handful of op-eds suggesting that the term “gamer” has become tainted (two that I know of) but that’s the opinion of only a few. I've seen an equal number from those who disagree.09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenExcept, you haven't provided a single example of a site that’s actually calling gamers a "collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling Manchildren."09/17/2014 - 8:55pm
TechnogeekIf you want to make the stereotype of gamers less painful, try calling people out when they do bad shit rather than handwave it away as "not all gamers". Even if it is a few bad apples, that'll still more than enough to spoil the barrel.09/17/2014 - 8:53pm
quiknkoldI'm not going to Sell Gamergate anymore. It can sell itself. But I will sell the integrity of the Gamer. That we are still good people, who create and donate to charitys, Who engage with those around us and just want to have a good time.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldpeople should not be harrassed and punished for the actions of a few. I've always welcomed and accepted everybody who wanted to join in. Who wanted to make them, or play them. I love good strong female protagonists, and want more.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldOne of the tennants of Gamergate is to stand up against Harrassment. That Gamers arent like those assholes. We can argue for days if the Sexism or Antifeminism or corruption is there or not, But the one thing I believe in and wear on my sleave is that09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldBut there were these websites, attacking me and people like me, for the actions of a few. and then others joined in on Twitter and other places. there was a hashtag that said "explain in 4 words a gamer" and it made me sick.09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
quiknkoldManchildren who are awful people and that the Identity of the Gamer should die. This hurt me personally. I've always identified as a Gamer. Even in my childhood years, I was a Gamer. All my friends are Gamers. Its one of the core parts of my identity.09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
quiknkoldUltimately, With the whole Gamergate thing, I jumped on it due to the harassment. A small number of assholes harrass Anita and Zoe, and then all the publications lumped together Gamers as this collective of Sexist White Bigoted Basement Dwelling09/17/2014 - 7:34pm
 

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