Congressman Steve Rothman (NJ-9) released the following statement on H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA):
I am a strong advocate for a free and open Internet, where citizens retain freedom of choice while viewing legal and safe content online. Although the authors of the recently introduced Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) aim to control piracy online, I am opposed to SOPA because the legislation would enforce Internet censorship, in direct violation of the First Amendment.
SOPA would allow the government to be able to force search engines, social networking sites, and internet service providers to block access to certain websites. It would also make the unauthorized web streaming of copyrighted content a felony, with a possible penalty of up to five years in prison.
While the intent of SOPA may be well-meaning, the provisions will stifle technological innovation, hinder startup companies from being competitive, and infringe on our constitutionally protected rights.
I oppose SOPA because it would unnecessarily restrict our nation's free and open Internet.