Open Letter to Congress About SOPA

Dear Members of Congress, US Senate,

 

Why H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act Sucks:

While, I understand this bill has not yet come to the House floor yet I believe you should oppose the SOPA (the “Stop Online Piracy Act”) immediately.

As a certified IT professional with over 23 years in the industry, I believe that SOPA will do absolutely nothing to stop online piracy.

In fact, I could show you and your staff several ways to “hide” or circumvent what the bill proposes in a matter of minutes. And if I could do so, legally what makes Congress think they could stop pirates?

And naturally this bill will not only stifle free speech aboard (especially where it is needed in terrorist-based countries) but will also kill off public discussions here in theUS.

Not to mention that the tens of thousands of jobs that will be lost. In 2007, award-winning journalist, David Faber, did a documentary on how just eBay alone affected theUSeconomy:

“An estimated 1.8 billion items, worth approximately $40 billion, are expected to be traded this year on this global electronic marketplace. If eBay employed the 430,000 people who earn an income selling on its site, it would be the nation’s number two private sector employer. How did this company, just shy of its 10th birthday, change the fortunes of so many?” And these numbers have grown since the collapse of the economy in 2008.

Do the drafters of this bill even understand the concept of country-based hacking? If this legislation passes, I don’t see any reason to believe other countries won’t follow suit.

Imagine US citizens traveling aboard only to find out that the host country won’t allow connections back to the US – because a single US blogger “encouraged” some oppressed national to stand up for freedom?

By forcing US ISPs and payment processors to “give the finger” and ban the rest of the networked world, we are inviting a horde of hackers – both talented amateurs and government sponsored professionals to attack back.

China is already secretly “hacking for dollars”, why not allow this bill to pass and give them even more room to attack our companies and networks openly.

Congressional members, I beg you to stand firm against this bill. The sponsors of this bill are seeing dollar signs instead of the damage it will cause to the basic security and infrastructure of the Internet in ways that we might never be able to be fix.

For a plain English explanation of why SOPA is a genuinely
dangerous idea, no matter where you live, go here: http://talkbiznews.com/sopa/

Update:

I got several repsonses to this email I sent both my local Congressional member and from one of my Senator [Kay Hagan}. Let me quote parts ot the letter: ” This bill would allow the Attorney General, or an intellectual property rights owner who has been harmed by an Internet site dedicated to infringing activities (ISDIA), also known as a rogue website, to take action against that site…”

“A site would be designated as an ISDIA if their sole purpose is to facilitate copyright infringement, or promote or sale of counterfeited American works.”

So let me get this straight… as a web developer say I have created a website for an overseas or US client. They sign up with an affiliate program. And unknown to them the program owners are offering some type of information product, book or physical product that is currently being opposed by some US based company for copyright infringement. The case is still up in the air legally but the US guy who is suing contacts the US Attorney General and rats out these innocent site owners as “rogue” sites. Now my client’s “rogue” site is DOA?

Or say a US blogger who often uses duplicate content from other websites or online resources under the US’s “Fair Use” law to write controversial posts about companies he doesn’t like. Now suddenly these bloggers can attacked by the owner of the orginal content, who says their intellectual property rights has been harmed and asks for the site to be declared a “rogue” and blacklisted.

No more messy lawsuits to PROVE the blogger went beyond a the “Fair Use” rule. Why not post a nice note to some Justice Dept hothead looking to make a name for themselves instead? Site declared rogue, all done!

Please did anyone in Congress actually sit down and talk with a REAL web professional who has worked with internet businesses, both good and bad, to really UNDERSTAND how futilte and dangerous this bill is?

And here the last quote from my Senator — better do this before I am declared a “rogue”.

“[Kay Hagan} I strongly support the goal of reducing the theft of intellectual property that is so important to North Carolina’s economy, including our budding film industry, which is why I and 40 of my bipartisan cosponsors originally cosponsored this legislation last July.”

I have lived in NC all my life. I have NEVER known of anyone to has make money or got work from “our budding film industry”.

I do know of several colleges that graduate hundreds of computer science and web technology students each year though. I know of several small businesses and medium size companies who hire and make money using the Internet.

I think Congress and the US Senate have been locked up in DC too long. Get out Kay, go visit RTP. That’s NC future.

Better yet go to SC and see the new Amazon facility and see the jobs being created there… “our budding film industry” won’t pull us out this Recession, lady.