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A letter to my representatives (House and Senate) about SOPA

by on Dec.17, 2011, under News, Techie

I thought I’d post what I sent to both of my Senators and my Rep in the House just a few minutes ago. It’s about why SOPA shouldn’t be passed…and I hope (as well as everyone who might read this should hope) it doesn’t get passed in and way shape or form!

I am in the telecommunications industry (working at a small/local ISP) and the entire concept being SOPA is bad. The way I see it and most of my colleges see it is that SOPA will provide the big industries (music, movie, gaming, etc.) with a way to take freedoms away from the people of the USA and other Counties world-wide (best example is how Universal had content pulled they didn’t even own the right to on youtube.com over the whole Megaupload.com issue – if SOPA is approved this could become more common place).
On another side of the issue are the burdensome policy’s that ISP and their upstream providers (Tier 1 and 2 networks) will have to follow and possibly install new software and hardware methods to allow censorship of the Internet could be crippling for small ISP. I know back 2+ years ago when a similar bill to this was being debated the regulation that would have been put on even our small/local ISP would have increase expenses enough that we would ether have had to A) raise costs to the customers or B) close our doors and let all the employees go. Is the same going to be true about what SOPA will do to us? I haven’t spoke with the owner or Network Admin of my company yet so I can’t say for certain, but I can tell you it won’t help us grow that’s for certain.
Another issue to keep in mind is that if a site is DNS Blocked the consumer may not really understand why it has been blocked and therefore we now have a group of consumers angry at their ISP (be it my company, AT&T, etc.). You may have never known what this is like, but it’s a very bad thing and it can be very hard to explain the reasons to certain people and certain generations of people. Consumers have come to expect the Internet to just “work.” Also DNS Blocking can be easily bypassed with the installation of certain proxy software on the consumers computer (see Ultrasurf – http://www.m86security.com/kb/article.aspx?id=12480). The sources for some of this software are less than reputable and once the consumers learn about ways to keep going to websites they want to view they will may be inclined to install these proxy system which have been seen to increase the spread of virus and rootkits. Whose fault is the virus/rootkit being install on the PC (and possibly stealing there password and credit card numbers to be used in fraud and spamming operations)? The consumers (since they are the ones who allowed the software onto their machines), but once again they do not see it this way and it’s someone else fault. Simple put is this will require a lot of “changing the way people think” and we just are barely getting people to understand that P2P downloading of music is WRONG and is stealing.
Simply put please vote down SOPA in its entirety. There is nothing in this entire piece of legislation worth working on or keeping.
Is piracy an issue? Yes!
Is SOPA the solution? No!
Maybe we should work towards better education of the consumer as to what is legal and illegal in regards to obtaining media online? Will this take time? Sure, but it’s the best method. You will NEVER stop people who want to willfully steal media w/o suing them or putting them in jail. Much as you will never stop some one from breaking into your house if they want to or doing drugs if they really want to. You can’t force anyone to do anything they willfully are against, but you can educate and help direct (through education) those who don’t know any better.

Lastly the current method of the copyright holder contacting the offending site to have media taken offline is still the best method to protect the freedom of the people and also the IP of the person/business. The business lobbying for this bill could just provide a better service so the consumer wouldn’t want to pirate the media in question (ie what Gabe Newell with Valve said and DOES with their Steam system). Legislation doesn’t need to help fix a broken business model and doing so will only hurt the consumers in this country in the long run.
Why make anything better if laws will be made to keep the current way of doing business profitable?” – Just the way I see the big media industries think to themselves.

Thank you for your time! And I hope you will continue to protect my freedoms!

Logan Rogers-Follis

P.S. I personally am a huge user of Open Source software (I buy my Windows (7) OS, because it’s a good product IMO), buy 99% of my video games from Steam (a few I can not), rarely go to the movies or even buy a movie anymore since I have Dish Network and Netflix. And I still buy my books and my friends use digital books a lot. And music? I buy the artist that I like and that treat there fans right…the other artists I will just listen to on the radio or Pandora on the Internet. And trust me a LOT of my friends are the exact same way.


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