Senator Robert Casey Co-Sponser’s the PROTECT IP Act and Gives his Reason Why

Senator Robert Casey Jr. writes:

Dear Mr. Wood:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act of 2011 and H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act. I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.

S. 968 was introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy on May 12, 2011. The PROTECT IP Act would allow the Attorney General and property rights holders to take legal action against websites dedicated to copyright infringement and intellectual property theft. It would also allow the Attorney General and intellectual property holders to seek a court order to have websites engaging in piracy shut down.

The PROTECT IP Act would make the Internet more secure by empowering intellectual property rights holders to help identify and eliminate rogue websites that operate maliciously and are dedicated to violating intellectual property rights of innovative and original entities.

S. 968 was voted out of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on May 26, 2011, and has been placed on the Senate calendar. I have become a co-sponsor for this act because I believe in protecting American consumers from counterfeit goods and services as well as copyright infringement. This bill will also help combat the shortage of American jobs; it would cut off international rogue websites that take American jobs as well as harm American consumers.

A similar version of this bill, H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act, was introduced to the House of Representatives by Representative Lamar Smith of Texas on October 26, 2011. It was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, where hearings were held.

Many individuals are concerned about these bills violating their right to freedom of speech; this is not the intent of S. 968 or H.R. 3261. While these bills will give the Attorney General some control, they do not infringe on internet users first amendment rights for freedom of speech. Counterfeiting is illegal, but outside of America the government can do nothing to stop it. This bill will also protect American public safety. Rogue sites often sell counterfeit prescription drugs and cosmetics that harm American citizens who were misled to believe that the goods were reliable. These bills will help reduce the amount of counterfeit and illegal foreign websites that try to sell goods and services to the American public. When this legislation is voted on please be assured that I will have your views in mind.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.

If you have access to the Internet, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov. I invite you to use this online office as a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office, or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.

Sincerely, Bob Casey United States Senator

After I am done with my last paper of the semester, expect me to respond to this letter in more detail and suggest, respectfully, that the Senator is full of shit when it comes to the effects that this bill could have on the American people. But let me make one point here and now:

This legislation would enable law enforcement to take down the entire tumblr.com domain due to something posted on a single blog. Yes, an entire, largely innocent online community could be punished for the actions of a tiny minority. Slate

So you know what, Senator Casey, you’re assurance that this act would have no impact on first amendment rights is utter bullshit. What’s more, as co-sponsor I am sure you’ve read the entire thing and understand this. You just hope that we don’t because then you and the 1% you work for could pull down Tumblr or Twitter whenever you wanted to do so in order to disrupt, oh I don’t know, maybe the people’s right to free speech and right to peaceful assembly?