Eddie VanBogaert, Councilor 609 West Navajo Street West Lafayette, Indiana 47906 eddie@firstdistrict.in

 

 
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 Congressman Rokita: I am writing today to express my strong opposition to H.R. 3621, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). As a city leader and small business owner, I have serious concerns about the expansion of regulatory authority granted under the proposed legislation. I believe that, if enacted, SOPA would negatively impact the online business climate. My primary reservation is with the fundamental restructuring of how online copyright provisions will be enforced. Under H.R. 3621, Internet advertising services, payment systems, cloud computing services, and social networks would become secondarily liable for the actions of end-users. While SOPA exempts firms unaware of criminal behavior, it places cumbersome expectations of notification and enforcement upon Internet companies once illegal user activity has been alleged, regardless of whether the allegation is credible. I believe that this would create an environment in which service providers are encouraged to shut down sites in anticipation of accusations, because pre-emptive action would likely be less costly and less burdensome than allowing due process to occur. For thousands of small businesses, including my own, it would only take one accuser to jeopardize our access to vital online services – and without ever stepping into a courtroom. We grow Internet companies in West Lafayette, on the campus of Purdue University, in the Research Park, and in the homes of many of our residents. While the security of intellectual property is a real concern, it should not come at the expense of free and open access to the Internet. The technology industry is one of the few bright spots in the economy of our city and our nation in this difficult time. I urge you not to stifle it. Please vote against the new regulations created by H.R. 3621. Sincerely,

Eddie VanBogaert Councilor, District One City of West Lafayette

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