What I sent to my representative today to ask him to oppose SOPA/PIPA

Hopefully, at this point, a lot of you have heard about SOPA and its cousin PIPA, and have learned how it will function and what it will do to the internet. If not, go look it up. I thought I should post, publically, what I just sent to my representative, asking him to oppose these bills. The whole of my message is pasted below.

I am writing to you as a voter in your district. I urge you to vote “no” on cloture for S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act, on Jan. 24th. The PROTECT IP Act is dangerous, ineffective, and short-sighted. It does not deserve floor consideration. I urge my representative to vote “no” on SOPA, the corresponding House bill.

I want to write to you not only as a concerned citizen but an educator. I teach college English to freshmen and sophomores, and the most important thing I try to teach them is free and open communication coupled with the ability to question and understand what people say. Which means I have trained a great number of people to hear claims that SOPA/PIPA protect businesses and see the nearly $94 million certain industries have spent lobbying for this bill that gives power to circumvent due process — something the government should and cannot do — to businesses. This is wrong, and must be stopped.

It will also stifle and kill American businesses. If you have ever pledged to help America against a threat against it, this is one. We will fall far behind countries that allow their businesses to function in a free space where innovation can happen. If we pass SOPA/PIPA or any bill calling for unrestricted censoring of the internet without due process and reasonable trial appeal, we will be unable to compete with the innovators who will both flourish in other countries and, very likely, leave our own to be in a place where they can do what they need to do.

As my representative, I ask you to stop it. Oppose this legislation by voting “no” on cloture.

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