This morning I sent a letter to Representative Bob Goodlatte outlining my thoughts on the flawed Stop Online Piracy Act. I’m posting it here because I believe in it, and welcome anyone who wishes to use any or all of it in their own letters to do so.
I’m writing this letter because I believe passing the Stop Online Piracy Act would be an error of catastrophic proportion. I understand the intention of the act, and agree that online piracy needs to be addressed in a way that adequately (albeit responsibly) protects the intellectual property of its owner. However, the legislation as currently written is a profoundly counterproductive (if not wholly destructive) means of installing those protections. The potential for collateral damage is so great that it could very possibly destroy the internet as we know it.
As a business owner, my company depends on the Web. If the proposed measures to restrict the sharing of online content were to be passed in their current form, my company would not be likely to survive. SOPA’s requirements for the self-policing of intellectual property, and the ability to shutter sites in the interest of protecting intellectual property will almost certainly create a climate devoid of clients interested in the Web. Few, if any, would be willing to spend money on a quality website with SOPA in effect. Why spend thousands of dollars on a site that could be shut down upon the accusation of an IP infraction? I can tell you with certainty that the clients I depend on to put food on my family’s table will not take that risk.
If you think lost revenues due to piracy is a drain on the economy, imagine what would happen if you put this act into law. SOPA will cost the United States millions of jobs. Companies will fold. Our largest tech companies (the ones driving our economy and leading the world in innovation) will be devastated. Perhaps you’ve noticed that they all oppose SOPA as well.
You are salting the very earth we use to build our livlihoods. This serves the few at the expense of the many.
I urge you to do the right thing and reconsider this ruinous piece of legislation.
I chose to send it to Goodlatte (R-VA) specifically, because of his role in bringing SOPA to the House. I grew up in Virginia, and went to college in Goodlatte’s district.
Lastly, I should mention that this letter received some much-needed polish from Max Heyworth, a fantastic copywriter and friend of Auxiliary.
**Update** I also think there’s some merit in heading over to I Work For the Internet and adding yourself there as well.