Shared publicly  - 
 
The other day, I received an email from Senator Robert Casey (D - Pennsylvania) declaring his support for both SOPA and PROTECT IP (read the full text here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11Gxn3BorR2PAdnOZnCzO9HpztEvA6NuOq7dmTkfZdxs/edit)

Here is the response I sent back:

--
Dear Senator Casey,

I am writing in response to your message supporting SOPA and PROTECT IP. I think these bills are problematic, and I would like to further express my concern.

Firstly, using a blanket DNS blocking method to attack discrete copyright violations on the Web will not “combat the shortage of American jobs.” To the contrary, these bills would adversely harm small companies and opensource/crowdsourced projects by increasing the startup costs and legal risks to innovative ideas. Take, for example, Paul Tassi, who fears his media-related discussion website, Unreality, may be destroyed by the threat of copyright bullying by big-money corporations (as documented by Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2011/12/16/how-sopa-could-ruin-my-life/). Small sites like Tassi’s cannot afford the legal fees involved if their entire site is blocked by a single potential violation by one of its thousands of users. Based on the history of the entertainment industry’s overzealous use of unwarranted copyright threats (http://torrentfreak.com/megaupload-to-sue-universal-joins-fight-against-sopa-111212/), I fear this will be a common occurrence if these bills are passed.

In the name of “creating jobs,” SOPA and PROTECT IP merely uphold a contemptuous industry not waning because of “theft,” but because it has collectively refused to yield to 21st century market forces. The US government didn’t legislate against ballpoint pens because the ink quill manufacturers complained.

Additionally, finagling DNS systems to combat copyright violations simply will not work (http://boingboing.net/2011/12/20/anti-sopa-plugins-render-censo.html). This can be easily overcome with alternative DNS resolving methods, and the US government will waste taxpayer money unsuccessfully trying to eliminate “black market” web browsing.

Lastly, the implications on free speech, or the perception thereof, regardless of these bills’ intention, will create a glaring blemish on our country’s history with the Fist Amendment. While a rather banal and unsexy counterargument to SOPA, free speech is the engine that keeps American society healthy, and the fact that any individual can be silenced as collateral damage to one industry’s wishes is the opposite of the America I thought I lived in.

I am disappointed that our government would support legislation with so many poor technical, practical and theoretical implications in order to prop up large media corporations who refuse to redefine their product for the Internet age. I agree there are legitimate concerns you are trying to address with these bills. Yet these concerns are inevitable and can be overcome with common sense and existing copyrights without burdening the organic frontier of the Internet (http://dyn.com/sopa-breaking-dns-parasite-stop-online-piracy/).

I urge you to reconsider your support for SOPA and PROTECT IP in the name of American innovation and freedom.
5
David Yaron's profile photoramli making's profile photo
3 comments
Add a comment...