In response to the Jan. 22 column “Dems’ SOPA support risky in 2012,” by Ryan Rainey: I do not believe it is the responsibility of Internet service providers to become the police of the Internet. Nor should they be charged with the responsibility to shut down access to pirate websites. Consequently, I am opposed to the Stop Online Piracy Act in its current form. I do not believe it is the intent of supporters of this legislation to promote Internet censorship. However, the bill as written will have a chilling effect on Internet expression. We must maintain due process under the law and continue advancing policies that promote Internet commerce, innovation and free expression.
The theft of billions of dollars of intellectual property by foreign piracy websites is a very real threat that must be addressed. When intellectual property rights are infringed, or stolen outright, it hurts our ability to compete in world markets and threatens jobs here at home. We must address this very real concern, but we must do so without undermining the foundation of an open Internet.
The Internet has played an important role in fueling remarkable innovation and the free flow of ideas and expression throughout the world. I remain hopeful that all sides are able to come together and craft a solution that balances the rights of copyright holders with our commitment to a free and open Internet.
Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.