* As you can tell by the black banner at the top of this page, today is a national day of protest over stupid attempts by Congress to dangerously meddle with the 1st Amendment and the Internet’s functioning. Click here for more info about the legislation. I laid out my own opinion opposing the bill here.
I hate to take sides on issues, particularly federal issues, but this congressional meddling has to be stopped.
* Thankfully, US Sen. Mark Kirk just announced his opposition to the goofy proposal…
United States Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) today released the following statement announcing his opposition to S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act.
“Freedom of speech is an inalienable right granted to each and every American, and the Internet has become the primary tool with which we utilize this right. The Internet empowers Americans to learn, create, innovate, and express their views. While we should protect American intellectual property, consumer safety and human rights, we should do so in a manner that specifically targets criminal activity. This extreme measure stifles First Amendment rights and Internet innovation. I stand with those who stand for freedom and oppose PROTECT IP, S.968, in its current form.”
Congressman Aaron Schock is also opposed.
* Sen. Dick Durbin has been a particular problem. He is listed as a sponsor of the legislation, which is supported by Senate Democratic leadership. But I talked to one of his top aides today who clearly signaled that Durbin is backing away from the bill. “It’s not a priority,” I was told.
I also asked a Durbin spokesperson to send me the Senator’s official position on this legislation. I’ll post it when it arrives.
You might want to call Durbin’s office if you get a chance today: (312) 353-4952. Please, be polite, but firm.
* There will be no Question of the Day today in observance of the national strike.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Another one comes out in opposition. From a press release…
Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) today issued the following statement on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA):
“The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate counterpart the Protect IP Act (PIPA) are two bills dealing with internet piracy and the toll it is taking on American jobs and content creators. Unfortunately, the way these bills are currently written does not ensure an open and free internet and that is not something I can support.
“American entrepreneurialism is vitally important to the economy and is something I believe we must protect by ensuring that ideas and content created here cannot be pirated through rogue websites based in places such as China. To do so we should bring representatives from all parties concerned to the table to address all of the major issues which have been presented; with an open and free internet being the central tenet to this debate.”
Congressional drafters essentially let Hollywood lobbyists write a bill that regulates the Internet. It was a very dumb idea.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Congressman Randy Hultgren’s chief of staff Jerry Clarke just called to say that Hultgren is also opposing the SOPA bill. Good for him.
*** UPDATE 3 *** From Congressman Joe Walsh’s Twitter feed…
Thank God twitter isn’t blocked today so I can tell you that I refuse to vote for #SOPA. #uncensored #StopSOPA
*** UPDATE 4 *** From Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s Twitter page…
Thank you all for the many calls today to #StopSOPA! I want you to know that I oppose #SOPA & will vote against it
When an issue can manage to get both Jan Schakowskyk and Joe Walsh on the same page, it cannot be ignored.
*** UPDATE 5 *** Congressman Mike Quigley straddles the fence…
“Like many of my constituents, I share concerns on several key provisions that were included in the original SOPA text. For this reason, I fought against the DNS blocking authority and voted to remove this part of the bill during the Judiciary Committee markup. The White House later announced its opposition to this provision and Chairman Lamar Smith announced that it would be removed when the markup resumes in February. SOPA is far from finalized and still has 30 amendments under consideration that would drastically alter the language of the bill and its effect on open access to the internet. I encourage my constituents to continue to stay in touch with us with their thoughts as Congress considers this issue.”
If you want to call Quigley, his office number is: 773.267.6583.
*** UPDATE 6 *** Congresswoman Judy Biggert’s position statement via the Daily Herald…
“I do not support the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA),” she says. “Protecting the intellectual property of American businesses, artists, and entrepreneurs is critical to our economic prosperity. But in a digital age, that task has become far more complex. That’s why any new laws governing the web must strike a careful balance, preserve the full innovative potential of the internet, and ensure that legitimate online services aren’t subject to unnecessary burdens. Unfortunately, the current version of SOPA does not strike that balance. My hope is that both sides will work toward a better solution to protect American innovators from digital theft without the unintended consequences feared by many in the online community.”
*** UPDATE 7 *** From Congressman Don Manzullo’s communications director…
I wanted to let you know that Rep. Manzullo is extremely concerned that the language in the Stop Online Piracy Act (HR 3261) would allow the possible infringement of free speech, and he opposes the bill.
*** UPDATE 8 *** From Congressman Bob Dold…
“I do not support the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in its current form. I am a strong advocate for protecting intellectual property rights, but I also believe we must protect our small and innovative businesses from unnecessary and potentially devastating burdens. I encourage all sides to come together to develop legislation that protects intellectual property while also preserving the innovative and valuable foundations of the internet.”