Let’s Address the Concerns Over the PROTECT IP Act

January 18, 2012 at 11:18am

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.

 

Online piracy hinders creativity and steals jobs.  Much of this criminal behavior comes from rogue websites operating in countries like Russia and China.  Their ability to operate threatens American ingenuity by distributing copyrighted material free of charge.  We must work to ensure that copyright holders are protected if we want to defend American ingenuity, ideas and artwork.

 

The goals of the Protect IP Act are commendable, but the potential for damaging unintended consequences is its major flaw.  Moving forward, I will work with my colleagues, the stakeholders and the American people to find a workable solution that protects intellectual property rights while promoting an open and vibrant Internet. 

 

I want to thank you for raising your concerns about this bill.  Your voice has been heard.