I had just been interviewed by Jamie Sotonoff of the Daily Herald about the proposed congressional internet restriction bill when I received the following email from Congressman Joe Walsh’s office:
I just wanted to pass along Congressman Walsh’s latest tweet opposing SOPA. He is the first tea party freshman to come out against SOPA. Let me know if you have any questions.
I don’t know why, but a broke out laughing.
Soon a friend emailed me an email from Congressman Don Manzullo. It explains the issue.
Thank you for contacting me about the Stop Online Piracy Act, also known as SOPA (H.R. 3261). I am strongly opposed to SOPA.
“On October 26, 2011,
- House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX),
- Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI),
- Intellectual Property Subcommittee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and
- Representative Howard Berman (D-CA) introduced SOPA.
“This legislation would allow the Attorney General to seek court orders against foreign websites that steal and sell American innovations and products or that facilitate such intellectual property theft.
“It would require Internet service providers, search engines, payment network providers, and online advertising services to carry out certain measures to prevent users from accessing rogue sites if a court issues an injunction.
“It would also increase criminal penalties for individuals who sell counterfeit medications and military items, and would streamline coordination among intellectual property enforcement agencies in the U.S.
“Last year, a similar bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate.
“On May 12, 2011, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011, or the PROTECT IP Act (S. 968). T
“This bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and on May 26, 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the legislation by voice vote. However, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has vowed to filibuster the bill, which could prevent the bill from coming to a final vote by the Senate.
“There have been concerns that this legislation could lead to the shutting down of legitimate websites without justification, resulting in government censorship of the Internet.
“Some also worry that, rather than lessen the threat of intellectual property theft online, these bills would have the unintended consequence of stifling innovation on the Internet—for these reasons,
I am opposed to SOPA.
“On December 15 and 16, 2011, the House Judiciary Committee held mark-up sessions on the bill but did not complete consideration or vote on whether to report the legislation to the full House.
“Again, thank you for contacting me about this vital issue. Your input is important to my work here in Washington.”
This is what I got from Congressman Randy Hultgren:
“He certainly has concerns about maintaining the growth and competitiveness of the internet.
“As a platform and medium, the internet has been able to grow and develop and drive economic growth and efficiency gains without being encumbered by external pressure.
“While it is necessary for us to do more in the fight against online piracy and prevent the theft of intellectual property, he opposes SOPA in its current form and would not vote for it on the House floor.”
A reply to an inquiry was sent to Congressman Peter Roskam has not not yet arrive.