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Sample SOPA and PIPA Letter to Congress

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Sample SOPA and PIPA Letter to Congress Powered By Docstoc
					*Things in red are for reminder/replacement purposes. Delete them once they have served their intended
purpose.
[Month Day Year]

Office of [Representative/Senator] [Name]
[Street]
[City, State ZIP Code]

Dear [Representative/Senator] [Name]

I am writing as your constituent in the ____ Congressional District of [State].

The topic of my letter concerns the [Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)/Protect IP Act (PIPA)], which is
currently moving through the [United States Senate/United States House of Representatives]. As I
understand it, the bill is meant to stop online piracy by expanding the powers of the Justice Department to
take action against sites that facilitate copyright infringement. This means that the United States Attorney
General would be given broadly defined powers to prosecute site owners – even when it is the users who
infringed and not the site owners. The price of litigation and the fear of prosecution would eventually
force sites to censor content. Additionally, [PIPA/SOPA] would increase costs for internet companies,
negatively affecting both popular sites and start-ups.

Moreover, as an internet user, I risk a felony charge for copyright infringement by merely posting and
sharing copyrighted content via sites like Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, and GMail. To minimize risks,
these sites may be forced to limit my liberty to share content within my social network; hence infringing
on my freedom of expression and criminalizing my interaction with friends, family, and fellow
community members. As the bill’s definitions stand, criminalization can be analogous to prosecuting me
for merely lending a Harry Potter book to friends – as the purchaser of the book, I bought the right to
consume its content, and lending it would therefore constitute “infringement.” Such a bill would not only
limit my First Amendment rights, it would also violate my constitutional rights to private and
noncommercial actions, innovation of current work, and freedom of (online) movement. Beyond the law,
[SOPA/PIPA] would give great influence to corporations dubbed as “content creators” such as Warner
Brothers, Random House, and Sony. Their unchecked power to dictate what counts as “content” can lead
to dangerous implications for creative, alternative, and innovative expression.

I, [Your Name], stand in opposition to the [Stop Online Piracy Act/Protect IP Act]. If passed, the bill
would infringe on many of my liberties and the freedoms of the American people. I do not condone
copyright infringement; rather, I am uncomfortable with the government’s definition of infringement as
well as the expanded powers our officials have effectively vested on themselves. Since its creation, the
internet has been an open space for social, commercial, and academic interaction and expression.
[SOPA/PIPA] would take away our human right to utilize this space freely and would only benefit
powerful corporate entities i.e. legal persons. As your constituent, I ask that you [re]consider* this bill’s
ramifications on our most basic liberties. I hope that, upon further reflection, you end up representing my
rights and interest as well as imploring your colleagues in Congress to oppose [SOPA/PIPA].

Sincerely,
[Signature (if available)]
[Your Name]
*Check your legislator’s stance on SOPA/PIPA.
e)]
[Your Name]
*Check your legislator’s stance on SOPA/PIPA.

				
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posted:1/18/2012
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Description: This is a sample letter to the United States Congress regarding opposition to Stop Online Privacy Act and Protect IP Act.