More on PIPA/SOPA

Dear Senator Ayotte,

Thank you for your response to my letter, and for your change of policy toward the two "anti-piracy" bills in question.  As you say, it is not "breaking capitalism" to shut down a car dealer that sells stolen vehicles.  However, I think it would be very bad policy to allow car dealers to be shut down
merely on the accusation by a car manufacturer or a competing dealer that they had done wrong.  This lack of due process and the power it places in the hands of media giants is one of the major differences between what you describe and the bills in question.  Another difference is the fact that anyone who inadvertently links to content (even completely legal content) from an IP address accused of wrongdoing can be tarred with the same brush.  This is an issue that doesn't have an immediate analog in the bricks and mortar world, but you might describe it as prosecuting anyone who ever bought a car from the hypothetical dealer in your example.  

Clearly there's a limit to how far bricks and mortar analogies can take us when we legislate internet commerce and free speech.  I hope our other elected officials can follow your example and raise this dialog to a level that will avoid the oversimplification that sometimes attends political debate in an election year.  

Thank you,

Dan Allosso
dan@allosso.net
www.danallosso.com




On Jan 31, 2012, at 11:06 AM, U.S. Senator Ayotte wrote:

January 31, 2012

Dear Dr. Allosso:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PROTECT IP; S. 968) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA; H.R. 3261).  I appreciate hearing from you.

As you know, PROTECT IP and SOPA provoked a groundswell of grassroots activism across the Internet.  This demonstrates how important the Internet is in our time, its growing prominence in influencing the political dialogue, and how citizens can make their voices heard.  The input that I received from thousands of New Hampshire citizens highlighted the need to address concerns regarding Congress' legislative efforts to combat online piracy and copyright infringement.

PROTECT IP was originally scheduled to be considered in the Senate on January 24, 2012.  Because of the outpouring of concern about the legislation as it continued to be developed, I could no longer support the legislation in its current form and withdrew my cosponsorship.

As many New Hampshire citizens have made clear, we cannot allow America's brightest ideas, products, art, and media to be stolen and sold by foreign criminal enterprises.  PROTECT IP was supposed to be about stopping this foreign piracy.  However, the legitimate concerns about government overreach warrant further consideration and careful deliberation, and I was pleased to see the bill pulled from the floor.

We must find a lawful and reasonable way to protect intellectual property rights.  For example, shutting down a dealer selling stolen cars is not censorship or "breaking capitalism," it is protecting private property and preserving societal values and standards.  We should seek to afford American copyright holders adequate protections against foreign thieves.  Foreign rogue websites, online piracy, and counterfeiting threaten U.S. businesses, consumers, and many thousands of American jobs.  We must be able to safeguard intellectual property without undermining Internet freedom.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me.  As your Senator, it is important that I hear from the people I represent regarding the issues facing our country.  Please do not hesitate to be in touch again if I may be of further assistance.

Sincerely, Kelly A. Ayotte U. S. Senator
 
KAA/mm