Last week, the popular web site Wikipedia blacked out its content for a day in protest of legislation introduced in Congress to combat online piracy of American intellectual property. Wikipedia and others said the legislation went too far, stepping on free speech rights of Americans. Many of you contacted my office to voice disagreement with the overly broad reach of the House and Senate online piracy bills. I cannot support either bill as currently written.
To safeguard our economy and jobs, intellectual property rights should be afforded significant protection. The growing presence of online piracy represents a serious threat to American entrepreneurs and businesses whose movies, music and other services are in demand world-wide and, accordingly, are the target of criminals often beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement. Unfortunately, current methods of preventing online theft of American intellectual property are outdated and ineffective.
However, significant changes will be required before the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) can be considered by the full House, if at all. The authors of these bills should therefore go back to the drawing board to improve their legislation so that free speech rights and the structure of the internet are not sacrificed in the important effort to protect intellectual property.