"My soul is elsewhere, I'm sure of that. And I intend to end up there." -- Rumi

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Speaking out against SOPA and PIPA

I'm sure you've all heard about the SOPA and PIPA bills that will soon come for debate on the Senate floor.  These bills, in a word, suck.  They are utterly detrimental, support censorship, and put power in the hands of big corporations.  As you've probably noticed, I stay far away from politics on this blog, but these two pieces of legislation have the power to affect this blog and every other website out there.  If somehow you are first hearing this from me, I recommend you visit wikipedia -- a free, unbiased online information source that these bills could censor! -- for info on SOPA and PIPA.

So, I wrote a letter to my senators.  And now I'm posting it here.  I'm recommending that you write your own letters to your own senators.  Because these bills have the power to change pretty much everything that's cool about the internet.  And frankly, that's just crap.

Dear Senators Warner and Webb,

My name is Mary -------------, and I have been a Virginia resident for the past 27 years.  I attended both college (James Madison) and grad school (George Mason) in Virginia.  Currently, I am volunteering overseas in the country of Georgia, teaching English to young people.  It is rewarding work and I am looking forward to returning to Virginia once my contract is up.

I am writing to you to protest the two bills currently under consideration in Congress -- the Stop Online Piracy Act (HR 3261) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (S 968).  Before volunteering in Georgia, I worked for almost five years at a Government Relations firm in DC.  I am not a stranger to interpreting legislation, and it is my firm opinion that both these bills are not only ineffective at achieving their stated goals, but also dangerous.

As an American living overseas, I am even more dependent than most Americans on the internet for my news, my entertainment, and for keeping in touch with loved ones.  These two bills as they are currently written stand to impact my quality of life considerably -- without, as I have previously stated -- effectively achieving any of the altruistic aims it purports to support.  It puts power in the hands of large corporations and discriminates against small businesses and user-generated sites.  I am hardly alone in my position, both among my fellow volunteers here in Georgia and among thousands of Americans at home who depend on the internet to provide them with unbiased, fair, honest and accurate information on a daily and even hourly basis.  Please do not deprive America of this invaluable resource, not when the anticipated gains for such a sacrifice will be virtually nil.

For these reasons, I urge you strongly to vote against SOPA and PIPA.  I thank you very much for your time and attention to this matter, and hope that you will hear the voice of Virginians and the American people, and do the right thing.

Mary ------------------

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