SOPA & PIPA

Representative Price,
Senator Burr,
Senator Hagan,

As your constituent, I ask that you oppose SOPA (H.R. 3261) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). Otherwise, I cannot in good conscience support your bid for reelection.

As a writer, small business owner, videographer and blogger, the internet is critical to my success in those media and has been instrumental to  my career. It allows me to reach my audience affordably and with minimal carbon footprint, and without fear of arbitrary censorship.

More importantly, it is the last bastion of truly free speech, uncensored by corporate or government agency. Resources like Wikipedia, Google, Reddit and hundreds more (free to end users) are invaluable to our way of life, and their existence is threatened by these bills.

Furthermore, Anti-piracy measures don’t work. DRM attempts by EA and other major players have worsened conditions for legitimate customers, creating limitations and barriers on their products, effectively turning purchases into rentals. Meanwhile, technically-savvy users easily circumvent each new restriction, and only paying customers are punished. This has been proven repeatedly.

The only way to fight piracy is to incent content that is affordable, convenient, and a la carte. Piracy exists because monoliths like TWC require users to pay up to three times for the same content:

  1. Cable package
  2. Watching paid advertising (even on PPV channels)
  3. PPV content itself 

As an entrepreneur, I have experienced how NC’s tax on internet revenue has limited my opportunities by discouraging partners like Amazon.com from offering affiliate status to NC residents. Translation: I can sell my own products on Amazon.com, but because NC is unfriendly to internet business, Amazon will not offer me additional revenue for advertising my products elsewhere on the web. Said revenue is available to residents of other states who link to my products and had nothing to do with my products. (It will be available to me only if I reside elsewhere.)

 SOPA and PIPA offer an environment many thousands of times worse and on a national scale, permitting arbitrary limitations to free speech and free enterprise. They guarantee the death of businesses like mine and offer to turn our best free medium into a virtual police state where those in power determine arbitrarily who succeeds and fails based on their own agendas, and not on the results of a free market.

SOPA and PIPA punish me while rewarding monopolies like TWC who have more power to decide what should be allowed on the internet (through influence on government), which results in even higher prices and greater barriers for legitimate customers. It is entirely possible that SOPA and PIPA are backed by agencies hoping to replace resources like Wikipedia with their own pay-per-use community, one without neutrality or free speech.

The last thing our economy needs is greater expenses for the average citizen. The last thing our society needs is additional limitations on free speech.

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