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.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
MattsworknameSo, whats everyone playing? Im still knee deep in bloodborne, but finaly beat Rom the spider05/23/2015 - 7:20am
Andrew EisenWe're planning on doing the podcast Saturday evening, as usual.05/23/2015 - 12:32am
Matthew Wilsonmy bad was doing it from my phone.05/22/2015 - 11:34pm
Goth_SkunkMatthew, that's a PDF. Looks like a lobbying report. What's that got to do with The Witcher 3? EDIT: Thanks Mecha.05/22/2015 - 11:33pm
MechaCrashI think this is the link you meant to post: http://www.gamespot.com/videos/the-point-the-witcher-3-a-new-benchmark-in-player-/2300-6424964/05/22/2015 - 11:31pm
Matthew WilsonThe Point - The Witcher 3: A New Benchmark in Player Choice http://www.gamespot.com/videos/the-point-the-witcher-3-a-new-benchmark-in-player-/2300-6424964/ fixed05/22/2015 - 10:37pm
Matthew WilsonI assume no show this weekend?05/22/2015 - 10:27pm
TechnogeekKaylaKaze: I fail to see how "that key was obtained via theft by deception" isn't fradulent.05/22/2015 - 8:46pm
Wonderkarp*Sippin on Long Island Iced Tea*05/22/2015 - 8:24pm
james_fudgeIT was all me. I broke the site. Send your hatemail!05/22/2015 - 8:15pm
KaylaKazeESO banning people for buying thier game when it was cheap, claiming fraud. http://www.reddit.com/r/elderscrollsonline/comments/36womu/deactivation_of_fraudulently_obtained_esotu_game/05/22/2015 - 5:29pm
Matthew Wilsonwtf? wounder if its time for a site redo with modern tech. somthing cheap like the latest version of word press.05/22/2015 - 5:27pm
Andrew EisenJames pasted my copy into a new story for me and the crappy Word formatting it inherited broke the site.05/22/2015 - 5:21pm
Andrew EisenHere's what happened: some weird bug is preventing me from uploading an article pic. Stories can't be saved with out pics so I couldn't write a story. So, I wrote it in Word and pasted the text into an email and forwarded it to James.05/22/2015 - 5:21pm
Goth_SkunkThanks E-Zeek.05/22/2015 - 5:09pm
E. Zachary KnightI fixed the shoutbox. Everyone thank me now. Or not. I don't care either way.05/22/2015 - 5:07pm
ZippyDSMleeShout box sttasahhppppp!!05/22/2015 - 10:47am
Andrew EisenOh, here it is. I thought it was gone. Yeah, I'm experiencing the same issue. Sent a note to tech.05/22/2015 - 10:43am
E. Zachary KnightAnyone else have the shout box pushed down to the bottom of the site?05/22/2015 - 10:38am
MattsworknameAndrew and EZK help me pull back a bit , still working on it05/22/2015 - 7:06am
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician