Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Letter to Larsen, Murray and Cantwell

I sent this short message to my congressman and senators:

Please reject SOPA/PIPA: Which article of The Constitution authorizes government to do that? Please check. See also, The First Amendment.

Please do not let special interests stampede you into usurping our natural rights. We the People granted a few of them to the government to exercise on our behalf. Our right to free speech wasn't one of them.

Must we beg our government not to uslurp our right to free speech? It should go without saying. If we continue along these lines, it will have to.
Update -- Senator Cantwell responds:

Dear Mr. Uppiano,

Thank you for contacting me about the internet streaming of copyrighted material. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

On May 12, 2011, Senator Leahy (D-VT) introduced S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act. While I am supportive of the goals of the bill, I am deeply concerned that the definitions and the means by which the legislation seeks to accomplish these goals will have unintended consequences and hurt innovation, job creation, and threaten online speech and security. On November 17, 2011, I signed a letter along with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) objecting to the bill as it is currently written.

On December 17, 2011, Senator Wyden introduced the "Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade" (OPEN) Act (S. 2029), of which I am an original co-sponsor. The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, where it is currently awaiting further review. The OPEN Act is a more effective approach to stopping foreign web sites that are found to be primarily and willfully used to infringe intellectual property rights. The OPEN Act builds on the existing legal framework used by the International Trade Commission for addressing unfair acts in the importation of articles into the United States, or in their sale for importation, or sale within the United States after importation.

Our trade laws have yet to catch up to deal with the global digital economy. The OPEN Act recognizes that the Internet has created new opportunities for foreign products to reach the U.S. market and that there is little difference between downloading a pirated movie from a foreign website and importing a counterfeit movie DVD from a foreign company. For those foreign web sites that are determined after an investigation to be primarily and willfully infringing, the International Trade Commission will issue a "Cease and Desist" order. The "Cease and Desist" order may also be served on financial intermediaries that provide services to that foreign web site, compelling financial payment processors and online advertising providers to cease doing business with the foreign site in question. This would cut off financial incentives for this illegal activity and deter these unfair imports from reaching the U.S. market.

The OPEN Act addresses the same challenges as the PROTECT IP Act, while protecting freedom of speech, innovation, and security on the Internet. The challenge of rogue web sites is one that many nation's face. The United State has always been seen as a leader on Internet issues. Laws we establish in the United States regarding the Internet are likely to be used as models around the world. And because the Internet is global in nature, it is important that we carefully consider how the laws and policies we adopt in this area may be received and translated by other countries.

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents. If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.

Maria Cantwell
United States Senator

For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at

Now I'll have to go study the OPEN Act. It may take some time to ascertain which article of The Constitution gives government the authority to do this.
Update -- Congressman Larsen responds:

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Uppiano:

Thank you for contacting me about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). I wanted to update you on my views on this important issue.

I am opposed to SOPA and PIPA in their current forms. I believe that these bills create unacceptable threats to free speech and free access to the internet. I have heard from many of you in Northwest Washington who are deeply concerned about the potential impacts of SOPA and PIPA.

Online piracy is a serious problem that costs U.S. businesses billions of dollars. Government agencies must be empowered to stop and prosecute intellectual property thieves. But in doing so we cannot undermine freedom of speech or jeopardize the free flow of information on the internet. I will work with my colleagues to see that any final anti-online piracy legislation protects the internet and does not encroach on free speech rights.

Please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind should I have the opportunity to vote on any legislation that would impact online piracy and internet freedom on the House floor.

Again, thank you for contacting me. I encourage you to contact me in the future about this or any other issue of importance to you.


Rick Larsen
United States Representative
Washington State, 2nd District

1 comment :

  1. Love the new word you created: "uslurp"
    Oh, yes. Obama is u-slurping 'em right up
    as fast as he can swallow. Our rights, that is.
    Slurp-slurp-slurp, like a cat after a bowl of milk. Will somebody put that darn cat out, and
    latch the pet door?!?!?


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