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Mail I sent to Senators Lautenberg & Menendez, and Congressman Pallone

December 15, 2011

I would like [my representative] to vote against bill S.968 – PROTECT IP Act of 2011 / H.R.3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act.

A bill that would allow for the government of the United States to essentially remove a website from the internet is contrary to the spirit and the letter of the First Amendment.

Technology companies start, and become successful, in part by (legally) disrupting the business models of older companies. If one of these entrenched companies can have a smaller threat neutralized through a government blacklist before it becomes successful, it could have chilling effects throughout the technology startup community. Investors will be more reluctant to fund new companies, and one of the fastest growing segments of our economy, an economy that could use all the help it can get, will stagnate.

Furthermore, [my *Democratic* representative] should consider the opportunity for abuse of such a blacklisting scheme for political gain. I can imagine the government office responsible for maintaining the list of blocked sites, under a Republican administration, would be more likely to block progressive websites first and ask questions later. The Justice Department is currently investigating possible violations of the Voting Rights Act by Republican-dominated state legislatures. Given the opportunity, I can’t see why the Republican party would not also try to have points of view they disagree with stricken from the internet. Knowing, and appreciating, [my Democratic representative, whom I voted for, and actually do like most of the time]’s record of progressive voting, I would think he may not want to vote for a bill that could make his reelection harder under a less fair-minded administration.

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