I recently wrote an article called I’ll wash your mouth out with SOPA in which I urged my readers to contact their Senators and Congressmen to oppose SOPA and PIPA legislation.
I contacted my representatives as well. My Senator Jim Webb got back with me while my Congressman Scott Rigell failed to do so. I suppose Rigell is far too busy to do his job by representing his constituents and actively engaging in discourse with them.
Thanks to my states one party consent law (to learn more about one party consent law please see my article Say Cheese) I am within my legal rights to disclose Senator Webb’s correspondence with me.
Posted below is the E-Mail thread between the senator and myself.
February 3, 2012
Mr. Jeremiah Pinkard
Dear Mr. Pinkard:
Thank you for contacting my office regarding S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011’’ or the ‘‘PROTECT IP Act of 2011’’), and H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act of 2011 (SOPA). I appreciate your taking the time to share your views with me.
The PROTECT IP Act and SOPA both seek to provide an expedited process for cracking down on counterfeit products and pirated content distributed over the Internet by targeting the domain names associated with sites that distribute that material. Intellectual property theft is a serious problem that costs the American economy billions of dollars a year. However, I have serious concerns with the PROTECT IP Act as it is currently drafted, particularly with the bill’s potential impact on free speech and the safety and security of the Internet.
As you may be aware, the Senate was originally scheduled to begin consideration of the PROTECT IP Act on January 24, 2012. However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he would postpone the vote, in an effort to develop compromise legislation that would address the concerns that have been raised. Should the Senate consider the PROTECT IP Act or similar legislation in the future, I will review it to ensure the best interests of Virginians are met and will keep your views in mind.
As the 112th Congress continues to address intellectual property, telecommunication, and other important issues facing the United States, your views will be very helpful to me and my staff. I hope that you will continue to share your views with us in the future.
I would also invite you to visit my website at www.webb.senate.gov for regular updates about my activities and positions on matters that are important to Virginia and our nation.
Thank you once again for contacting my office.
United States Senator
Of course I find this response to be utterly unsatisfactory. I had strong words for my government, and since I’m not one to shy away from controversy or ruffling the feathers of the authorites I sent the following reply:
Hello Senator Webb,
Thank you for taking the time to review my correspondence and to get back with me. As a blogger I agree that intellectual property must be protected. My aversion to SOPA and PIPA lie in the fact that they allow for heavy handed tactics which ultimately constitute a breach of personal liberty. If the public is given a choice between liberty and the prosecution of internet pirates they will choose liberty every time.
Internet crime is on the rise and must be properly addressed. Instead of engaging in knee jerk reactions I implore my government to concentrate resources where they are most needed. Expenditures should be made to make inroads against identity theft and other forms of computer fraud. In regards to combating piracy the authorities may want to start with Hong Kong as most of the worlds pirated materials originate there.
Thank you and have a great day.
Jeremiah W. Pinkard
After twelve days I am still awaiting a response. I understand that the Senator is a busy man, however he should have gotten back to me by now.
Have any of you experienced similar silence from your elected representatives? If so please feel free to send me any correspondence or lack thereof regarding SOPA/PIPA legislation. The Blue Scholar Blog wants to know what our government is up to and we are eager to publish your opinions and your correspondence.
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