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Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) Comes Out Against #SOPA Net Censorship Bill

January 9, 2012 - by David Moore

Big news yesterday, with announcement by influential Rep. Paul Ryan [R, WI-01, pictured here] that he opposes the #SOPA net censorship bill:

  • The Hill, Brendan Sasso reporting: "Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee and a leading conservative lawmaker … said he would vote against the legislation should it come before the House. … [Rep. Lamar] Smith’s Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the bill when Congress returns from its recess later this month. The Senate is also set to vote on its version of the legislation, the Protect IP Act [#PIPA], when Congress returns." Rep. Smith on OC
  • Alexander Howard rounds up more links & puts the news in context, always follow @digiphile. See also discussion in G+ comments there re: causal determinacy of Reddit’s role in this announcement. (Top thread on Reddit, whose anti- SOPA & PIPA activism has been positively vital & generally impactful in favor of net freedom in this campaign. Shouts to the community there.) 
  • TechPresident, Sarah Lai Stirland reporting: “The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Monday announced that it’s holding a hearing next Wednesday to examine the cybersecurity and job creation implications of Domain Name Service and search engine blocking.” Rep. Issa (R – CA-49) has, of course, strongly opposed #SOPA in part by promoting #OPEN alternative. 
  • TechDirt, Mike Masnick reporting, on how Rep. Ryan’s opponent raised $15k from Reddit in a few hours by vocally opposing #SOPA (and to note again, which Rep. Ryan has consistently opposed as well, in the case of this one particular bill). Read more about U.S. State Dep’ts lack of comment on net censorship, and generally recommend spending time reading everything Mike reports there. 

To reiterate, OpenCongress is going hard on the stop- #SOPA & #PIPA news coverage not only because it’s a hot Congressional issue at the very start of the upcoming second session, but also because this terrible legislation poses an existential threat to the open Web and free speech online. Next leg. steps summarized ably by Ernesto Falcon of Public Knowledge – the worst net legislation in history is rocketing through Congress and may pass unless we mount a coordinated effort to stop it. PPF’s non-profit mission is to encourage peer-to-peer political education, community discussion & civic engagement on this young-and-yet-nascent Webnet we enjoy every day. Both #SOPA & #PIPA should have been non-starters, as un-Constitutional as they are and as systemically corrupt as the well-past-farcically-incompetent and willfully counter-factual Congressional legislative deliberations behind them have been so far (extensive past coverage on OC Blog). #SOPA & #PIPA are truly crystalline examples of why American representative democracy requires comprehensive electoral reform, including fair elections, to mitigate the influence of campaign donations on what’s ostensibly our public policy process. 

The American Censorship coalition (of which PPF is a proud founding member org.) launched a campaign for constituents to visit their two U.S. senators in-person during this January recess— before the Senate re-convenes on Jan. 24th and Sen. Reid unfortunately fast-tracks #PIPA to a vote. To help spread the word, grab the HTML widget there, or RT this announcement update on the micropublishing service. To participate, simply find your state discussion forum and join-in the grassroots effort to communicate personally with your members of Congress — more to come shortly here on OpenCongress as well on how to effectively lobby your elected officials and their offices on this crucial issue of whether the U.S. will break the open Web and engage in China-style net censorship. More factual resources & activist materials at our allies EFF, Public Knowledge, Demand Progress, and others. 

Coming soon here on the OC Blog – more NDAA coverage, and more links to additional SOPA news around Rep. Ryan’s announcement on political blogs. Let us know what you found educational on this topic from around the Web: david at opencongress dot org. (Disclosure: I am a Board member of Fight for the Future, a brand-new not-for-profit org. helping to coordinate the American Censorship coalition’s online activism, though I receive no compensation and serve in a full-time capacity as E.D. of PPF.)


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