It’s not secret that I believe in scolding public officials when they make dumb decisions. But I also believe in reaffirming them & thanking them when they do what is right. If we don’t, we will find ourselves in a country where no good person is willing to run for office.
I have been critical on this site regarding federal government power grabs of the internet (“net neutrality”, for instance), and my position has been the same on the latest bills in the U.S. Senate & House, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) respectively. As of yesterday, both of my representatives in these legislative bodies were co-sponsors of these bills.
But this afternoon, in a statement on his Facebook page, Arkansas’ U.S. Senator John Boozman announced that he’s dropping his support for the controversial PIPA bill that is currently being considered in the Senate. Many critics have feared that the bill would give the federal government unnecessary regulatory control over the internet and the ability to shutdown websites.
Over the past few weeks, the chorus of concerns over Congressional efforts to address online piracy has intensified. I can say, with all honesty, that the feedback I received from Arkansans has been overwhelmingly in opposition to the Senate bill (S.968, the PROTECT IP Act) in its current form. That is why I am announcing today that I intend to withdraw my support for the Protect IP Act.
I will have my name removed as a co-sponsor of the bill and plan to vote against it if Majority Leader Reid brings it to the floor in its current form.
The PROTECT IP Act seeks to address an issue that is of vital importance to the future of intellectual property rights in the modern era. However, the concerns regarding the unintended consequences of this particular bill are legitimate. Therefore, we should not rush to pass this bill, rather we should be working to find another solution so that the epidemic of online piracy is addressed in a manner that ensures innovation and free speech is protected. I have confidence that we can do this, but not as the PROTECT IP Act stands today.
Senator Boozman deserves a public thank you for listening to the people of Arkansas on this issue. PIPA & SOPA are bad bills that will stifle free speech and free-market job creation. I see this move as particularly genuine, granted that Boozman is not up for re-election for another 4+ years. He heard from the people of the state and he responded appropriately.
No word yet if Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-2) intends to drop his support of SOPA, the House version of internet censorship.