Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Political Update

      Since my post about the online piracy legislation, it has been semi-killed, meaning they reserve the right to tweak it and push it through at another time when the world isn't paying as much attention. There are still 56 members of Congress that have their names attached to either SOPA or PIPA. Here is a handy website listing those people.
       Like a good little voter, I researched where the people in my district stood and wrote letters. The bad news is that I had to write two letters expressing disappointment. Both of my senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson were cosponsors. The day after the protests, Chambliss pulled his name from the bill and sent me a form letter letting me know that he had come to understand that it was flawed and not going to fix the intended problem (score one for the protest. Isakson, however, is still attached and sent me a form email with the same old line of how it will only effect foreign websites. It made me mad, not because I am so wrapped up in this particular bill, but because it shows a lack of understanding about the modern world, the people in it, and also because I looked at the amount of money his campaign received from the entertainment industry.
     On to the good news. My congressman, Tom Graves, was against it before it was popular to be against it. I wrote him an encouragement email thanking him for taking the time to understand the repercussions. He also sent me a form email in reply. Here is the good part of what it said.
            "While I believe it is essential that U.S. copyright laws are upheld, this should not come at the expense of technological innovation that should be encouraged, and not prematurely stifled. I also have concerns that in today's rapidly changing Internet, individuals who willingly violate U.S. copyright law will find new technology to commit these acts at a much faster pace, only making SOPA ineffective in eliminating copyright infringement.
             More importantly, each American's right to free speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution must be protected, and I believe SOPA's sweeping authority to block websites, as we see in China, encroaches upon that right and sets a dangerously precedent."
Wow! It's like he actually read the bill or something. Imagine that.

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