Friday, January 20, 2012

SOPA/PIPA: Letter to Patrick Leahy, Senator, Vermont

As Franklin said: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty, to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

And to whom do SOPA/PIPA purport to extend Safety? Not producers/creators, but the big business dinosaurs who think there's money in it. These dinosaurs that realize, finally, that they're nearly extinct, and are desperately hoping to delay it.

Ask creators like "Weird Al" Yankovitch ("Don't Download this Song") and Louis CK (making millions from his latest direct offering) - they can make a great living, being paid by consumers of their works - without the dinosaurs and their frantic tantrums.

In this country, we have a great tradition of *not* throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

With SOPA/PIPA we have, on one side, rich dinosaurs whining about being richer; and on the other side, millions of voices that will be stifled if those dinosaurs use these overbroad provisions.

Yes; we *certainly* must have a discussion about issues like piracy (which is *not* free speech) - however the current SOPA/PIPA discussion is too poisoned to be productive.

The choice is clear - SOPA/PIPA are bad legislation and must be dropped, completely.

It is particularly troubling to me that you continue to support PIPA, even now.

Worst of all, using the sadly typical right-wing tactic of belittling those on the other side - such as your statements on VPR's "Vermont Edition" recently.

This is not the Pat Leahy that I've voted for. And this is not in the proud Vermont traditions that you've upheld - at least, in the past.

Pardon my directness - however, this is even more important than SOPA/PIPA.

Please have the courage to reflect on your many years of service to Vermont and the country - and see that this service leads you in a different direction.

Thank you.

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