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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Wonderkarpgranted, 2 of those instances are sited sources, and the rest is divided between 2-3 different stories11/21/2014 - 2:24pm
E. Zachary KnightWow. Quinn's name shows up 33 times, but it isn't about her.11/21/2014 - 2:21pm
Wonderkarpalso Activision makes me sad with that. Glitchs are hilariously fun(so long as they dont happen 100% of the time)11/21/2014 - 2:18pm
WonderkarpHe's one of the 5 men linked to Zoe Quinn. works at Kotaku. Kind of an ass11/21/2014 - 2:18pm
Andrew EisenHe's a games journalist.11/21/2014 - 2:13pm
Michael ChandraWho is Nathon Grayson?11/21/2014 - 2:07pm
MaskedPixelantehttps://twitter.com/BroTeamPill/status/535841124884418560 Source.11/21/2014 - 1:49pm
Andrew EisenFun Fact: Zoe Quinn's name shows up in that GamerGate press docket 33 times! Nathon Grayson's name? Only eight. Guess which one's the game journalist.11/21/2014 - 1:48pm
MaskedPixelanteApparently Activision is issuing copyright strikes against streamers who show off CoD glitches. Out now but I'll source when I get home.11/21/2014 - 1:22pm
Andrew EisenIf you see something you think we should cover, let us know!11/21/2014 - 1:11pm
WonderkarpAnd the GamerGate Girls Huffington Post Video should have been on this site weeks ago http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/15/female-gamers-gamergate_n_5990310.html11/21/2014 - 12:46pm
Wonderkarpits not getting dropped, Monte. Its become a defiant cry in the face of adversity and lies11/21/2014 - 12:42pm
Wonderkarphttp://press.gamergate.me/dossier/ The GamerGate Press Site. All the Information and Evidence that supports their arguments and goals. This is the 5th time I've posted this.11/21/2014 - 12:40pm
MonteIts why i feel that they would be better off dropping the gamergate tag. The tag is far to tainted and they attract the anti-fem trolls. Find a new tag, loose the baggage and then you can have a discussion on journalism free of distractions11/21/2014 - 12:40pm
WonderkarpGG got together and put together a press site that contains all their evidence and arguements in a single easy FAQ. I've posted it here many times to silence.11/21/2014 - 12:36pm
MonteIt does seem like GG spends more time trying to defned itself from accusations than actually talking about journalism; hence one reason why they keep coming back to the topic of feminists despite them having nearly nothing to do with gaming journalism11/21/2014 - 12:36pm
Wonderkarpwhat do you mean "Their own fault"? are you saying its Gamergates fault that the 11 dead gamer articles were written? that it was GamerGates fault when they got together to cry out that they were shouted down by louder megaphones?11/21/2014 - 12:35pm
NeenekoThere is unity of attack, and unity of defense, but not of message or identity. Which the group's own defensiveness has blinded to them since it is chalked up to 'media is out to get us' as opposed to their own fault.11/21/2014 - 12:10pm
NeenekoOh unity I will give you, it is one of the group's weakest points.11/21/2014 - 12:07pm
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