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SOPA receives bipartisan opposition from delegation

WASHINGTON — In a rare showing of bipartisanship, nearly every Minnesotan in the U.S. House of Representatives came out against the Stop Online Piracy Act on Wednesday, the same day website “blackouts” swept across the Internet protesting the legislation.

Sen. Al Franken
MinnPost photo by Jay Weiner
Sen. Al Franken
Rep. Erik Paulsen
Rep. Erik Paulsen

By the afternoon, Democrat Betty McCollum had come out against the bill and Republicans John Kline, Erik Paulsen and Chip Cravaack had posted messages to Facebook and Twitter announcing their opposition. Spokespeople for Reps. Tim Walz, a Democrat, and Michele Bachmann, a Republican, said they would also oppose the plan, and Rep. Collin Peterson’s office said he was “leaning no.”

“I believe copyright infringement and piracy should be prosecuted to the full extent that the law affords,” Paulsen said in a statement, “but I have deep concerns about the effects of SOPA and therefore cannot support it in its current form.”

Paulsen’s office posted the statement on his Facebook page. By Thursday morning, 177 users had liked it and there were 71 comments, by far the most of any recent update.

Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/19/2012 - 10:05 am.

    I love it when politicians who got into office via the support from left-wing anti-capitalists are forced to admit to them that private property rights are, you know, a good thing.


  2. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/19/2012 - 10:19 am.

    Franken, please, the very nature of the internet makes it impossible to target ONLY foreign websites. There is no virtual border in cyberspace, that’s the problem. Furthermore, the US government cannot “target” websites in foreign countries where it has no jurisdiction, so the targeting in fact ends up being directed at activity, websites, and servers here in the US.

    Copyright law is already out of control and beginning to crimp freedom of expression and artistic expression as well. This legislation will not protect content creators, it will only serve corporate owners, which in turn will suppress the free flow of ideas and information.

  3. Submitted by James Hamilton on 01/19/2012 - 11:25 am.

    Legitimate interests are involved on all sides of this issue, something many seem to ignore. Clearly, piracy is a problem and one which costs American enterprises substantial sums each year.
    Whether there is a technological response which comports with privacy and “fair use” concerns remains to be seen.

    However, I am not comfortable with a system that operates free of judicial oversight at the lowest level, as appeals from administrative action are a long time coming and typically possible on only very narrow grounds. I also question whether this is a cost we (taxpayers) should bear rather than the owners of the intellectual property.

  4. Submitted by Arito Moerair on 01/19/2012 - 12:25 pm.

    The problems, in no particular order:

    (1) You have two senators (whose candidacies I supported) who are basically bought and paid-for by Hollywood, especially Franken. This is probably their biggest problem.

    (2) They’re both over the age of 50. They did not grow up with the internet. They grew up in an age when learning was done with paper books at a library and news came from old media (newspapers, TV, radio). There was tighter control then.

    My point is that they have no perspective from which to legislate. They should not be making laws that govern things they don’t fully understand. But they’ve been directed by their corporate overlords that we need tight control of the internet the way old media is controlled. The business models of old media are obsolete, but Franken and Klobuchar have been ordered to try, desperately, to drag the world backwards to make those models relevant again. It won’t work.

    This is a potentially tragic case of corporate influence in lawmaking. It needs to end.

  5. Submitted by Mark Stromseth on 01/19/2012 - 01:54 pm.

    “[Sen. Klobuchar] believes we need to address concerns being raised today and work out a compromise that balances free exchange on the Internet with stopping foreign piracy that hurts our economy,”

    Wonderful. The concerns being raised about censorship and security, as well as kowtowing to their corporate masters who don’t have a clue about how to profit from greater distribution of their “content” mean that we have to “compromise” to preserve our already Constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech and expression.

    No doubt there is piracy taking place, but the question is if there is Economic Harm taking place because of it. The evidence so far suggests no harm is actually occurring.

    Way to go, Amy! You’ve shown yourself to be just as clueless about the law as well as how the Internet really works. Talk about tone-deaf.

    “Sen. Franken has heard the concerns that many Minnesotans have voiced over the past few days about the PROTECT IP Act, and he believes we need to reach a compromise that will both keep the Internet free and open and protect American jobs,”

    Hmmm…another “compromiser” of freedom of speech, expression, and Internet security, so we can “protect American jobs.” So how did we avoid “compromising” to protect those same unnamed jobs until now? The Internet has been in existence since the 70s, so the fact that our own government wasn’t concerned about the free flow of information and ideas, and “protecting American jobs” until last year says quite a bit about who’s bidding they’re really doing: the MPAA and their cohorts.

    This is what our own government criticizes other countries such as China for doing: censoring and restricting access to web sites they don’t want their citizens to see, as well as wholesale surveillance on them—which just happens to be what our government is doing to us now: surveillance wherever and whenever possible. Allowing legislation like this to pass is just giving them another tool to spy on our every activity.

    Maybe our Congress Critters will pass legislation giving We the People the right to shut down web sites, remove content, and even more draconian acts based upon the whims of the individual. Somehow I think they’d have a problem with that, which is why they should have a bigger problem giving such power to corporations or federal agencies that answer to now one and are not held legally accountable.

    Letting people in Congress who have no technical expertise try to regulate something they don’t understand, all because they’ve been bought and paid for, and told what to think by corporations, is why we need to remove these people and take back our government from these criminals.

  6. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 01/19/2012 - 02:33 pm.

    I can’t believe Erik Paulsen said when I’m thinking. It’s becoming clear to me proponents are trying to find a technical fix to a law enforcement problem. Why don’t they get this? I think proponents are well-intentioned in regards to stopping pirating of intellectual property, and it’s very much a real problem, but people who know nothing about the internet are legislating about the internet. In 2012, it’s no longer acceptable to know nothing about the internet. It’s like writing telecommunications legislation while proclaiming you don’t get what these telephone-thingies do.

  7. Submitted by Robert Ryan on 01/19/2012 - 03:35 pm.

    This is typical federal legislation that takes a sledgehammer to the small organization or individual who doesn’t have the resources to hire big-bucks lawyers to defend themselves. It doesn’t matter whether your are guilty or innocent – you will be destroyed financially. The law as written will be abused.

    I agree that piracy is a problem, but this is a case of destroying the village in order to save it.

  8. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 01/19/2012 - 04:31 pm.

    The US grants too much protection to so-called “intellectual property”, evidenced by the outrageous extension of copyrights to 70 years plus the lifetime of the originator. The IP laws in this country sanction monopoly and monopoly control, not free enterprise. This “anti-piracy” legislation is just another extension of monopoly power through legislation.

  9. Submitted by Dave Eischens on 01/20/2012 - 11:45 pm.

    @#4 David, although I agree with your premises re: corporate influence, I might caution you to paint with a somewhat finer brush.

    Preface: I completely disagree with our MN senators support of PIPA. And though my Rep. Cravaack is a burr in the saddle, he at least has come out against SOPA. (for the wrong reasons I might add)

    My point is that I’m over 50, and though my perspective of the internet is not yours, we’re on the same side. I understand the mechanics, development, and use of the internet in a very deep way. I was part of helping it to what it is now. It’s actually thrilling to think what the next generations will make of it.

    So I’ll accept that most of our legislators don’t know what the any key is, and agree again that this legislation is corporate bunk, but please don’t alienate allies who are already standing at your side.

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