Dear Senator Franken:
I received your reply to my objection to SOPA and PIPA, and have noted that either you have been totally misled about online piracy, or have intentionally misrepresented the issue at hand.
Contrary to your letter, something has already been done to protect copyright infringement. They call it the TRIPS agreement. There are 185 member states. I think that’s just about everyone.
This agreement is used by corporations and individuals worldwide to protect every thing from fictitious patents from Monsanto and other bio-pirates that claim a new life form has been created, to musical compositions, literary works, creative arts, traditional knowledge, inventions of all kinds, seeds, gene splicing, hybridization of animals, scientific papers and dissertations and theory, mechanical design, fluid designs, poetry, books, surveillance methodologies, movies and other theatrical creations, etc..
You get the picture. Everything that SOPA and PIPA claim they would cover is already covered in the TRIPS agreement, including trademarks, with the appropriate enforcement included.
From your letter:
“Right now, a company has no way to enforce its rights if it finds that its products are being pirated or counterfeited on a website hosted overseas. The PROTECT IP Act was designed to give the Attorney General and private companies a way to cut off the flow of money to these foreign sites. We can’t force those sites to stop infringing our copyrights and trademarks because they’re not subject to our courts, but we can make sure they don’t make money in the process.” [end quote]
Wrong Senator! They have the TRIPS agreement and god only knows how many other agreements, rules, regulations, harmonization agreements, etc., that we don’t even know about….yet. Surely we have some economy killing trade agreement with these countries that allow the infringing that could be used for leverage.
We could consider doing to one of those uncooperative countries what we have done to other countries when they wouldn’t forfeit their assets to one of our governments good corporate buddies. We can just cut off food, water and medical supplies to them. We can heap sanctions on them and cause thousands of their people to die from starvation, malnutrition, disease and whatever else we can come up with to get our way. And if all else fails, we can just claim their elected leader is a brutal dictator and begin the bombing of the general population while we hunt him down and then kill him. That’ll teachem’ to steal our stuff!
Compare this to the insidious Patriot Act which was nothing more than a direct assault on our constitution. Prior to 9/11 we had numerous laws on the books specifically targeting terrorism; not one of them ever utilized. But not one of them targeted the freedoms and protections provided to us in the Constitution, therefore, the Patriot Act closed the gap.
The Patriot Act had nothing to do with fighting terrorism, just as SOPA and PIPA have nothing to do with preventing or targeting online piracy. These laws, even if passed with a guarantee that they would not censor the net, would quickly be construed, re-interpreted and abused to do exactly that. The point being, we just can’t trust you guys in the District of Criminals to do the right thing. There is always an ulterior motive; an underlying and as yet unexposed under belly to everything that that comes off CRAPital Hill.
There isn’t a rats chance in a deacon box that this ever expanding government which is in the process of establishing a police state is not set on destroying the last bastion of free speech available to the public and the public’s only real access to government. On the other hand, this could seriously impair the relentless warrantless eavesdropping and spying done by our own government to its own citizens if several million of us were suddenly disconnected.
It is estimated that 10-13 million Americans protested the passage of either of these bills. Ask yourself what they saw in the bills and what they knew would be the end result if they were passed, that you seem to have missed?
You are correct in that there is a lot of misinformation floating around about these bills, most of it generated by the government. We have been lied to, tricked and deceived too many times by agencies and agents of our own government to blindly allow them the ability to tamper with the net.
This is not a matter of “we cannot do nothing”. We already have the tools, we have the laws, we have the agreements; we just need to use what we already have in place.
The last thing we need is another damn law and more regulations!
We have been burned to many times by great sounding bills that were supposed to be for one thing and which irrevocably altered our lives in some other way as they were used against us. Sometimes its for the phony war of terror we wage, sometimes its for human rights violations we don’t do anything about, and sometimes its just because freedom and liberty are being legislated out of existence in this country.
You can poke us with a fork Senator Franken…..I think we’re done!
P.S.: These are some links you might find handy, below.
WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/
The Most Advanced E-learning Content
on Intellectual Property for your Business
Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
Technology Transfer & Licensing http://www.wipo.int/ip-development/en/strategies/technology.html
Technology transfer (TOT) is important for economic development. It can be defined as transfer of new technologies from universities and research institutions to parties capable of commercialization, or in the sense of transfer of technologies across international borders, generally from developed to developing countries.
Generally TOT consists of knowledge or IP rights that are:
- licensed in the form of intellectual property,
- the subject of formal consulting or training agreements,
- communicated in the work place or research settings,
- diffused by publication or other means.
Creative enterprises, those engaged in the commercial exploitation of intellectual property-based goods and services imbued with symbolic meaning (i.e., books, film, music), contribute significantly to the economic, social and cultural development of nations. These enterprises form complex networks in content-driven sectors, which in turn make up the creative industries. Their unique characteristics (i.e., original symbolic products) drive and sustain diverse cultural and customary traditions, and enhance social values. At the same time, they generate wealth, increase employment opportunities, and promote trade. Yet, their true value and potential are often underestimated and insufficiently analyzed.
In response to the growing interest and needs of the Member States of WIPO to address the economic and cultural developmental impact that intellectual property policies and practices have on the creative industries, WIPO established the Creative Industries Division in June 2005.
Sentator Franken’s reply on S.968
Thank you for contacting me about S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (the PROTECT IP Act). I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me on this important issue.
As you may be aware, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has decided to shelve the PROTECT IP Act. I wanted to take a moment to share why I support copyright protection legislation—as well as why I believe holding off on this bill is the right thing to do.
I understand as well as anyone the importance of keeping the Internet free from undue corporate influence. I’ve been a champion of net neutrality, which I believe to be the free speech issue of our time. At the same time, there are millions of Americans whose livelihoods rely on strong protections for intellectual property. If we don’t protect our intellectual property, criminals will continue to profit from their work. We cannot simply shrug off the threat of online piracy. We cannot do nothing.
Right now, a company has no way to enforce its rights if it finds that its products are being pirated or counterfeited on a website hosted overseas. The PROTECT IP Act was designed to give the Attorney General and private companies a way to cut off the flow of money to these foreign sites. We can’t force those sites to stop infringing our copyrights and trademarks because they’re not subject to our courts, but we can make sure they don’t make money in the process.
I strongly believe in protecting American intellectual property, but I also heard from many Minnesotans who were concerned about the possible effects of the PROTECT IP Act on the Internet. Frankly, there is a lot of misinformation floating around out there: If this bill really could do some of the things people have heard it would do (like shutting down Wikipedia or YouTube), I’d never support it. But even so, I believe we need to seriously consider the many concerns that constituents have shared.
As I said, I support copyright protection legislation, but I also believe in the value of the Internet as an engine to enable free speech, new business models, and economic growth. If holding off on this legislation gives us an opportunity to take a step back and try to bring everybody back to the table, I think it’s the right thing to do. It’s worth getting this right. And while I work to get it right, I will keep your concerns in mind.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to do so in the future on this or any other issue that may be important to you.Sincerely,