Dear Mr. Antwiler:
Thank you for contacting me regarding Internet anti-piracy legislation, specifically the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). I appreciate hearing your views about these important pieces of legislation.
As you know, online piracy is a major issue facing the American economy as more and more digital creations, such as music, movies, software, and books, are moved online. The Internet, which has delivered so many benefits to our economy, has unfortunately also allowed bad actors to steal and sell these stolen works. It is estimated that our economy loses more than $58 billion annually as a result of online piracy. As part of an effort to fight back against these losses, Congress has introduced two bills, the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and SOPA in the House of Representatives, respectively.
These bills are designed to help the government more effectively utilize legal tools that are already at our disposal to fight against online piracy and protect American intellectual property. If enacted, the legislation would allow the Department of Justice to notify a website owner that the government intends to pursue a court order for alleged illegal activities. Next, the court would have to determine whether the website has a significant use other than the selling of counterfeited goods. These basic protections are designed to provide due process protections to ensure legitimate websites are not at risk for inadvertent violations.
The PROTECT IP Act was passed out of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and SOPA has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary on October 26, 2011. Please rest assured that should these bills come to the Senate floor, I will keep your views in mind. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts on this important topic. Please feel free to contact me regarding this issue, or any other in the future.
United States Senator