Oppose the Protect-IP Act
I am writing to urge my Senators, John Cornyn and Kay Hutchinson, to
oppose the Protect-IP Act in ANY AND ALL forms. The free speech of
American citizens is too important to risk in a misguided attempt to
protect copyrighted works. If this legislation, or any similar legislation such as the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House, passes, entire domains will be put at an unacceptable risk
of being shut down due to unfounded complaints without due process of law.
A "domain" means an entity such as Google.com -- which provides billions of automatically generated links every day to users who seek to find information, and which cannot possible ensure that every single one of those links is entirely free of copyrighted content. A "domain" can also mean an entity such as any of the three or four small websites I run to publish my thoughts and opinions on news, politics, and computing issues. I have invested years of work and thousands of posts, each with one or more links and often "Fair Use" excerpted quotations about which I wish to comment.
If I should quote someone's words in a manner they do not like -- quite likely, since I usually quote in the process of criticism -- should they be able to demand I remove my speech and hold my domain hostage until I do so? That is unAmerican and unacceptable in a free society.
It is true that our copyright laws need revising. They need to be revised to take into account the new capabilities of our internet-based digital distribution systems. They need to be updated to *strengthen*, not eliminate, fair-use based protections for commentary and speech about copyrighted works. They need to be updated to respect the Constitutional demand that copyright be granted *for a limited time*, rather than ensure a perpetual profit from ownership of cartoon mice.
I oppose the Protect-IP Act. I urge you, my Senators, to do the same.
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