The canned Senator SOPA/PIPA response email

Yesterday many websites turn off the lights in protest to the SOPA and PIPA bills. This is the 1st response that I got back from one of the senators here in MD after writing to them. I am guessing this is a pretty standard response and will have to compare it to the 2 others I expect to get.

“Thank you for writing to me about copyright law. It’s good to hear from you.

The PROTECT IP Act (S. 968) would give the Department of Justice (DoJ) authority to identify and take legal action against websites that market counterfeit or pirated goods.

Illegal downloading of movies, TV shows and music is a real problem that harms industries, kills jobs and hurts our economy. We need strong copyright laws to protect the creative property of artists, and it is important that these laws be followed. However, I share your concerns about this bill. We need to make sure that the solution isn’t worse than the problem. Any efforts to strengthen the protection of copyrighted materials must be well planned, avoid unintended consequences, and must not stifle free speech or innovation.

There are a number of provisions in the bill that I am concerned about, particularly language affecting Domain Name Servers (DNS). Legislation as wide-ranging as this needs a more open and thorough review from all sides of the debate. I am pleased that Senator Leahy — the author of the bill — has said he is open to changes to address this and other issues. The current language in the bill needs to be improved before I could consider supporting its final passage.

S. 968 has been passed out of the Judiciary Committee and is awaiting action by the full Senate. Knowing of your views is helpful to me, and I will keep them in mind as Congress continues to debate this issue.

Thanks once again for writing. Please let me know if I can be of assistance in the future.

Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator”




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