An open letter to Senator Barbara Boxer and Senator Dianne Feinstein, supporter and co-sponsor of the PROTECT IP bill and supporters of SOPA

Here’s a copy of the messages I just left on Senators Boxer and Feinstein’s web page forms, making sure to stay under their 5000-character limit. I look forward to receiving a form letter to the effect of “We are very interested in your opinion but you see it’s like this” any day now.

In the 15 years I’ve lived in the Bay Area, I’ve had the luxury of not having to be that informed about politics. Whenever an election comes up, I don’t need to research the candidates for the Senate or House; it’s always Pelosi, Boxer, and Feinstein across the board. And whenever I’ve been urged to write my senator or congress people on a hot-topic issue, I’ve never felt the need — my senators and representatives have pretty much always reflected my interests exactly.

That came to a crashing end with the NDAA. I ignored all the entreaties to write my representatives, because I believed my senators would never support a bill with such blatantly unconstitutional provisions. After learning that both of my senators voted Yea, I realized that I was going to have to actually become a responsible citizen again.

That’s why I’m asking you, as one of your constituents, to reverse your support of PROTECT IP and SOPA. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the workings of the internet can see that it does nothing to actually protect IP, because it does nothing to stop the most egregious pirates. It is a transparent attempt by media rights holders, frustrated that they’ve failed to do anything to stop piracy, to find someone — anyone — that they can sue. It should be clear that suing a content provider for the actions of one of its users would be as ludicrous as suing a department store whenever someone shoplifts a DVD.

In an environment where all of Washington is promoting “job creation,” it’s baffling to see a bill proposed that so clearly stifles start-ups and favors profitability (through lawsuits, not sales) of major corporations. While I appreciate the opportunity to be an informed citizen once again, I’d much prefer my representatives to vote on behalf of all their constituents, not just the most wealthy ones.