Thursday, January 26, 2012

US Senator Dianne Feinstein on SOPA and PIPA

Advocate for the people???
Hey there.  It looks like the internet and it's users won the battle against PIPA and SOPA last week.  That doesn't mean that the war has been won.  We need to stay on top of our elected officials to speak up for us and fight for our right to free speech.  Because I participated in the great "internet black out" on Jan. 18th, I made sure that my senator heard from me when I signed the online petition.  US Senator Dianne Feinstein heard my voice and responded with the below Email:

Dear Victor: 

Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to the "Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act," commonly known as the "PROTECT IP Act." 

The "PROTECT IP Act" (S. 968) gives copyright and trademark owners and the U.S. Department of Justice authority to take action against websites "dedicated to infringing activities." These are websites that have "no significant use other than engaging in, enabling, or facilitating" copyright infringement, the sale of goods with a counterfeit trademark, or the evasion of technological measures designed to protect against copying. I'm sorry to say that theft of intellectual property is a major problem and has primarily adversely affected the American motion picture industry. 

I voted for the "PROTECT IP Act" when it came before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but I always had reservations about several aspects of the bill. 

First, I oppose censorship and am working to make sure the bill protects First Amendment rights to free speech. In addition, as far back as 2010, I raised concerns about the website blocking provision. I was pleased Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced this provision would be removed from the bill. I was also concerned that the overbroad language of the bill could encompass non-pirate websites and filed an amendment to fix this problem. Finally, I worked to alleviate undue burdens on Internet advertising services and to minimize the risk of litigation on growing technology businesses. 

On May 26, 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the "PROTECT IP Act" by voice vote for consideration by the full Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced on January 20, 2012, that he was postponing a procedural vote on this bill. I believe postponing this vote was the right thing to do. In order to move forward, the bill must be changed to prevent it from harming legitimate businesses and Internet users in the process of protecting copyrights and trademarks. In other words, the bill must be fair and balanced. 

In mid-January, I convened a meeting in San Francisco with Google, Yahoo! and Facebook to hear valid concerns of high-tech businesses and public interest groups. I have spoken again with leaders at Google about a path forward on this bill. My goal is to do everything I can to bring all sides together – including copyright owners, high-tech and my colleagues – to produce a fair and balanced bill. As you may be aware, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) has introduced the "Stop Online Piracy Act" (H.R. 3261), which is similar to the "PROTECT IP Act", in the House of Representatives. Please know I will keep your thoughts in mind should the Senate proceed to a vote on either of these bills. 

Once again, thank you for sharing your views. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841. 

Wishing you a happy 2012. 

Sincerely yours, 

Dianne Feinstein 
United States Senator

So what do you guys make of the Email from Senator Feinstein?  Thoughts please.  Later!

1 comment:

  1. Ah, she has back pedaled quite a bit - both she and Barbara Boxer were co-sponsors of PIPA. (We too live in California, and checked on that.) Apparently, Darryl Issa has come up with a bill in the House to replace SOPA that both sides of the aisle (and concerned constituents) find a better solution. Fingers (and paws) crossed that the Senate does the same.


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