I am writing as your constituent in the 5th Congressional district of Minnesota. I am writing as your constituent in the 5th Congressional district of Minnesota. I oppose H.R.3261 - Stop Online Piracy Act, and am tracking it using OpenCongress.org, the free public resource website for government transparency and accountability.
Sincerely, christopher bryant
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Thank you for submitting your message to my U.S. Senate office. Each week, several thousand Minnesotans send me their thoughts and suggestions on legislation and important issues facing our nation. This impressive volume is a testament to the Minnesotan traditions of grassroots activism and civic participation that distinguish our state. I closely track the concerns that are expressed in your letters and emails, and will answer them as soon as possible.
United States Senator
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December 8, 2011
Thank you for contacting me about S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (the PROTECT IP Act). I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me on this important issue.
As you may be aware, I am a cosponsor of the PROTECT IP Act. I believe that intellectual property (IP) enforcement is extremely important. IP-reliant companies account for more than $7.7 trillion of the United States economy and employ more than 19 million workers. We must protect American jobs from piracy, which has become rampant on the Internet. We don’t tolerate shoplifters in stores and we should not tolerate them online.
The PROTECT IP Act would authorize only the Attorney General to seek a court order to block foreign websites whose primary purpose is to sell or distribute pirated goods. Right now, a company has no way to enforce its rights if it finds that its products are being pirated or counterfeited on a website hosted overseas. The PROTECT IP Act gives the Attorney General (and not private companies) jurisdiction over foreign websites.
This bill is the successor to the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), a bill that the 111th Congress never voted on. I had several concerns about COICA, but PROTECT IP contains significant improvements that addressed many of my concerns. I worked with Senator Leahy, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, to narrow the definition of an infringing site, and I was glad to see he removed the controversial provision that directed the Justice Department to publish a list of offending websites (also known as a "blacklist") without judicial process. After these improvements, I became a cosponsor of the PROTECT IP Act to protect intellectual property rights and the jobs that depend on them.
As you may be aware, there is similar legislation going through the House of Representatives—the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). This piece of legislation contains many provisions that are actually broader than the PROTECT IP Act. If both versions pass through their respective chambers, I will take a close look at the differences between the bills and will work to address your concerns.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to do so in the future on this or any other issue that may be important to you.
United States Senator
Note to Congressional staff & elected officials reading this: this letter was sent through Contact-Congress features on OpenCongress.org, a free public resource website, but in the future we seek to compel the U.S. Congress to adopt fully open technology for constituent communications. For more information how your office can better handle public feedback through an open API and open standards, contact us -- even today, there are significantly more efficient and responsive ways for our elected officials to receive email feedback than the status quo of individual webforms. For greater public accountability in government, we must make the process of writing one's members of Congress more accessible and empowering. Looking ahead, we will release more data from Contact-Congress letters and Congressional response rates back into the public commons. This will result in a new open data source on bills & issues people care about, as well as encourage best practices in constituent communications and make it possible to grade members of Congress on their responsiveness & citizen satisfaction.