This week I received over 1,000 calls and e-mails from constituents concerned about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). I want you to know that I am listening to these concerns and following this controversial legislation very closely. I wanted to take a moment to explain what SOPA is, why so many people are concerned about it, and where it is in the legislative process.
SOPA was intended to protect intellectual property by limiting access to foreign websites that give people access to pirated movies and music and other counterfeit goods.
Many people who contacted me said this bill would lead to government censorship of the internet and would restrict free speech. Others recognized the need to fight online piracy, but were concerned that the bill was written too broadly so that it would lead to websites and blogs being shut down even if they did not provide access to pirated material. Another common concern was that this kind of government regulation would stop the innovative nature of the internet.
The Senate version of the bill had been scheduled for a vote next week. However, today, Senate leadership announced the vote has been canceled due to widespread opposition to the bill. In the House, SOPA had been under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee, and was in the process of being amended and changed. However, immediately after the Senate canceled the vote on the bill, Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith announced that his committee will stop considering this bill entirely and will go back to the drawing board to try and reach broader consensus on this issue in order to address constituent concerns.
I have been closely following this issue and I will continue to do so. I will continue to keep you informed and encourage you to voice your opinion to me on this and other issues that matter to you.
Member of Congress