Oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act
Congressman Lamar Smith,
I am a constituent.
I write to express my intense opposition to a bill which you have introduced, the Stop Online Piracy Act. This bill will shut down free speech and censor ordinary citizens speaking online, whether through emails like this one or multimedia commentary through sites like youtube. The legislation is overly restrictive and violates the First Amendment, which as a congressman you swore to uphold.
I believe that you are supporting this legislation at the behest of companies and lobbyists for the media and entertainment industry, who dearly wish to protect their copyrighted works and do not care what amount of collateral damage they inflict upon ordinary citizens in the process. The fact is, since the rise of the internet and encoding technology such as the MP3 audio format, entrenched media industries have attempted to use the law to resist technology disruptive to their monopoly control over the distribution of entertainment media. They have mostly failed in their efforts, which is why they keep returning for harsher and harsher laws and penalties. Yet, they are earning healthy profits when they embrace the new technologies rather than seek to suppress them; music sales through digital outlets such as Amazon and iTunes are through the roof.
Mr. Smith, you represent me. I did not elect you to write legislation making uploading content to the internet a felony. I did not elect you to empower the police to seize domain names, part of the basic internet infrastructure, based on accusations from special interests with no due process.
Given your position with respect to this legislation, I do not expect you to vote against it, but as your constituent, I demand that you withdraw it immediately and pledge to respect and honor the First Amendment in all future legislation.
I am watching how you vote, and I am watching for primary challengers to replace you if your votes do not represent me.
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