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*** UPDATED x8 - Dold opposes - Manzullo opposes - Biggert opposes - Quigley straddles - Schakowsky opposes - Walsh opposes - Hultgren opposes - Kinzinger also opposes *** Kirk announces PIPA/SOPA opposition

Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012

* 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.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 12:10 pm:

    You can also tweet at him @SenatorDurbin

  2. - The Captain - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 12:18 pm:

    “Bland person in bland picture!!!”

    I didn’t realize the internet blackout was going to affect me personally until just now. No QOTD? NO CAPTION CONTEST?!?!?! This is a call to arms.

  3. - Aaron Krager - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 12:24 pm:

    Thanks for taking a side on this one Rich. I am ashamed Durbin sponsored this piece of legislation when it is such a gross power grab for the MPAA and RIAA.

  4. - MrJM - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 12:26 pm:

    Huzzah, Sen. Kirk!


    – MrJM

  5. - Shock & Awww(e) - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 12:33 pm:

    I despise the notion of one day telling my kids that, “Once upon a time, the Internet was as free as your mind. You could explore almost any thoughts, ideas and information you wanted to. Those were the good old days.”

    Thanks for making an exception and taking a position on this.

  6. - JustaJoe - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 12:35 pm:

    I’m glad to see this post and glad that you, Rich, and Senator Kirk have the sense to oppose it. The meddling indeed needs to stop.

  7. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 12:39 pm:

    I think Reid’s support can be attributed to Chris Dodd’s new job. He really sold out his former colleagues, but they were stupid to take up this crazy cause in the first place.

    Seems to me the problem is that content providers haven’t found a way to protect their products. It’s like a 7-11 that doesn’t lock its doors at night demanding the government shut down the street/close the parking lot when putting a simple lock on the door would suffice. There must be a way to encode an algorithm or something on digital copyrighted works that prevent unauthorized duplication or to track where exactly the copyright violation occurred. Why on earth would we shut down whole web sights used by millions of people to get at one or two unlawful users?

    Try again guys, and put some burden on the copyright owners to help them help themselves.

  8. - ChicagoR - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 12:39 pm:

    This is one of the few times I think Kirk is being smarter than Durbin. Good for Kirk.

  9. - Cook County Commoner - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 1:00 pm:

    I’m no computer wunderkind, but it seems the resolution of internet intellectual property theft is within the realm of possibility by means other than the ham-handed use of legislation. Maybe the industry should make a better effort to self-police itself. The money and influence which has led many elected leaders into an embarrassing position isn’t going away. Also, it is worrisome that the federal government was so ready to impose restrictions on free speech on the internet. Luckily, the technology that Congress sought to stifle over-powered it.

  10. - mokenavince - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 1:22 pm:

    I have call Durbin’s office and politely voiced
    my opposition to the bill.

  11. - phocion - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 1:23 pm:

    Er…where are the Illinois Democrats? Their silence will not bode well for them.

  12. - phocion - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 1:24 pm:

    Oops. Just saw Schakowsky also opposes. Good for her. Senator Durbin: it’s time to flip flop.

  13. - Publius - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 1:27 pm:

    I have called Durbin’s office and the guy who answered sounded flustered by all of the phone calls. I wished him good luck after I voiced my opinion.

  14. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 1:32 pm:

    The first time I called Durbin’s Springfield office today, they hung up on me after I said for the second time that I didn’t want to be put into voice mail and would hold. I think a new intern was having a bad day. lol

  15. - M O'Malley - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 1:53 pm:

    Let’s not forget about Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution -(The Congress shall have power) “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”

    Maybe this law is overbearing, but the Constitution demands we protect authors and inventors, and the DCMA in its present form is not adequate protection.

  16. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 1:58 pm:

    ===Maybe this law is overbearing===

    There’s no maybe about it.

  17. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 1:58 pm:

    Also, as a person who lives and dies by copyright, I flat-out oppose this bill.

  18. - Shore - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 2:04 pm:

    Chicago’s mayor who raised mega bucks in hollywood and has a brother who works there is in favor of this or opposed?

    Quigley needs a new flack. I don’t think 98 percent of his constituents or people who work outside of dc would understand anything in that answer.

  19. - Peggy R - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 2:18 pm:

    Both bills are terrible. I believe in copyright protection as well, but these are ridiculous bills. We have to watch out when both parties favor some increased regulation, it is the “ruling class” against us the people. So, now that many Congress members are voicing opposition, who will be left to stand by it? I hope no one.

  20. - The Captain - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 2:20 pm:

    While someone is tracking down the position of the Mayor of the City of Chicago on a bill in Congress to outlaw internet piracy could you also get Justin Bieber’s opinion on this? v,v important. Asking for a friend.

  21. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 2:27 pm:

    John Shimkus also opposes SOPA as currently written, per his Facebook page.

  22. - Shore - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 2:27 pm:

    Right because Hollywood would never ask a former white house chief of staff and congressional powerhouse who they’ve generously supported in his mayoral bid and whose brother is a big deal in the entertainment industry and who happens to be in dc this week to weigh in with the powers that be on an issue they find to be kind of a big deal. I am sure the thought has never crossed their mind and no one has raised the issue with him because after all he has no ties to Hollywood and no connections in washington.

  23. - Louie - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 2:27 pm:

    Durbin has never seen a regulation he doesn’t support.

  24. - JN - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 2:27 pm:

    ==also get Justin Bieber’s opinion on this==

    And honestly, Quigley’s answer was completely intelligible and almost makes it sound like he understands the content of the bill.

  25. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 2:31 pm:

    === Maybe this law is overbearing, but the Constitution demands we protect authors and inventors, and the DCMA in its present form is not adequate protection. ===

    So the end always justifies the means?

  26. - M O'Malley - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 2:52 pm:

    Rick, how many take-down notices have you sent?
    There are authors who are spending a good amount of money doing searches and sending take down notices to search engines (The Supreme Court considers search engines ISP’s for DCMA purposes). If Google & company hates the bill they should propose real steps to combat on-line piracy, not run a campaign to keep “business as usual”

  27. - M O'Malley - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 2:53 pm:

    sorry, meant Rich. I’ll take the “bite me” for that one.

  28. - RMWStanford - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 2:59 pm:

    There is no doubt that online piracy is an issue the SOPA is a bad bill. It goes to far and will have negative affect on the legitimate free flow of information. Free flow of information is not important just as freedom of speech issue but also as an economic one.

  29. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 3:02 pm:

    I called Quigley’s office and told them I can’t tell from their statement how he plans on voting and that I would like a more coherent statement. The nice intern (I’m guessing) said they’d get right on that.

  30. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 3:29 pm:

    Did Quigley hit his head on something? His response is incoherent.

  31. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 3:45 pm:

    I wouldn’t presume to speak for Rep. Quigley Wordslinger, but c’mon. Incoherent? Really? For some people maybe, but you surely understand that legislation is comprised of bits and pieces, voted on in various committees section by section, amendment by amendment, changing all the time. SOPA is actually a series of votes, not an up and down vote on a single bill. At least not yet anyway. Why can’t we hold judgement until they’ve completed the preliminaries?

    His statement is accurate and fair, if also a little inside-baseballish. And yes, he’s straddling until the bill is done. I’ll grant that the legislative process is pretty incoherent, but we who post here should know that.

    For the record, I’m opposed to much of what has been proposed in SOPA, but it’s already been watered down from an earlier, far worse version. I’m also opposed to piracy, and maybe this isn’t the right approach, but it is evolving in response to a lot of pressure from people like us today.

    They’re making sausage, and hopefully the end product will be edible, if not necessarily delicious.

  32. - Jon O. - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 4:02 pm:

    Called Rep. Gutierrez this afternoon, according to the staffer he’s “still hearing out opinions.”

  33. - soccermom - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 4:50 pm:

    Can I point out that Quigley seems to understand that, once you’ve stated your position on an upcoming vote, you no longer have any leverage to change it in any way?

    I can understand why some legislators would feel so strongly about SOPA that they would come out in favor or against. But I don’t think it shows a lack of character to keep your powder dry.

  34. - amalia - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 6:40 pm:

    there has to be some way to protect the work of artists and protect free speech. one bit of trouble with this topic is that many people seem to think it is their right to have immediate and free access to music, movies, tv and they don’t seem to think about whether an artist is compensated. It’s pretty easy to think of artists who make lots of money, and not to have sympathy, and this topic is reminiscent of Napster discussions. but there are many other people involved in making the big artists’ art whose small paychecks depend on the bigger paycheck. and smaller artists get ripped off in various ways. I’m worried about that. I’m hoping I hear that Congress gets together and finds a way to protect the work of artists and the speech of everyone.

  35. - Shore - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 7:54 pm:

    To the captain, I told you this would involve Ari Emanuel and presto a politico story tonight talking about how Rahm’s brother wants this passed. You think after all the money he and his pals have raised for Rahm over the years he’s not calling up his brother to help him out?

    Entertainment industry insiders suspect the White House’s stance on SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act pending in the House, could harm Obama’s fundraising prospects.
    Even Cary Sherman, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America — the trade group that represents the nation’s big music labels said “it could.”
    Obama counts Hollywood insiders like Jeffrey Katzenberg, Andy Spahn and Ari Emanuel among his top bundlers for campaign cash. Katzenberg, a Hollywood mogul and DreamWorks Animation CEO, has raised at least $500,000 for Obama and is a top spender on outside Democratic groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Spahn — an entertainment consultant who was appointed in 2008 to the President’s Commission on Arts and Humanities — has also raised at least $500,000 for Obama this cycle.

  36. - G. Willickers - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 9:12 pm:

    Rich -

    Other than using different words what is different between the jist of what Dold said versus what Quigley said?

    Why do you say Dold “opposes” but Quigley “straddles” when they’re both essentially saying the same thing (that they opposed SOPA as written and reserve the right to change it)?

  37. - Spliff - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 9:40 pm:

    just an FYI but Manzullo might want his communications director to talk to his district office. The woman there went off on my friend and offered to send her a letter on why Manzullo supported the bill. If she gets the letter i will email it to you.

  38. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Jan 18, 12 @ 9:41 pm:

    Sorry, not impressed by all the folks jumping on the bandwagon today. This has been rising for a couple of weeks, and any Congresscritter as concerned as these folks now appear to be should have spoken up weeks ago.

    Quigley’s response appears to be the most responsible, given the complexity of the bill mark-up process. Durbin’s non-response is disappointing seeing as he is a sponsor, he ought to be able to explain why &/or what he plans to do.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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