I received an email a few days from Russ Carnahan responding to my email about SOPA. Basically: he’s for it.

Note: if you’re not aware of what SOPA is, James Fallows has a good primer with a well-done video explaining it.

There are a couple of issues with Carnahan’s response:

  • He refers repeatedly to the PROTECT IP Act. That’s a Senate version of the law that is not as bad as SOPA but still pretty egregious. Regardless, I didn’t contact him regarding the PROTECT IP Act, I contacted him regarding SOPA, which is currently in the House Judiciary Committee (the email response below the fold says that a similar version has yet to be introduced in the House, which is not true).
  • His explanation for his support of the general idea behind both the PROTECT IP Act and SOPA elides the main point: even if you want to prevent piracy of content and IP, these are bad bills. As the Fallows piece says, they “break the Internet”.

Please contact Rep. Carnahan or your Representative if you’re not in the 3rd, as well as Senators Blunt and McCaskill, and urge them to stop these bills!

Thank you for taking the time to reach out to me about S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act. I value your input in the legislative process and am glad to have the opportunity to respond.

The tremendous growth of the internet has been one of the most important changes in our society over the past decade. From online shopping to viral videos, the internet has changed the way we conduct commerce, learn the news, and communicate with each other. While these changes have brought terrific opportunities, they also pose new challenges, especially for our privacy and safety online.

As you may know, the PROTECT IP Act would provide law enforcement with important tools to stop websites dedicated to online piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods. The PROTECT IP Act would also facilitate legal proceedings taken by the Attorney General and the Department of Justice against foreign nationals that are associated with delinquent domain names that harm American internet users.

Currently, this legislation has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, but a similar version of the PROTECT IP has yet to be introduced in the House. Please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind should this legislation or similar legislation relating to intellectual property rights come before the full House for a vote.

I always appreciate hearing the views of constituents about issues facing Congress. Please feel free to contact my office in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other matter of concern. I also hope you will find my website, carnahan.house.gov, a useful resource for keeping up with my work in Washington and the St. Louis region, and I welcome you to sign up for my e-newsletter at carnahan.house.gov/updates.

Sincerely,

Russ Carnahan