WASHINGTON — Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) issued the following statement Jan. 18 on the controversial bills known as SOPA and PIPA:
“Today, thousands of websites and millions of Americans are standing up to protest the Internet censorship bills currently moving through Congress, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).
“As I have said since Day 1, SOPA and PIPA would set dangerous precedent and represent a big step backwards in Washington’s efforts to foster growth in the digital sector. These bills would have a profound effect on how the Internet functions on a basic level, undermining the legal process and overturning long-standing practices established in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
“I have serious concerns about the overly broad definitions of theft included in both bills that could be used to shut down dozens of lawful exchange sites that are valuable outlets for small-scale buying and selling.
“I am also uneasy about the use of DNS blocking as a viable solution, especially within the lens of consumer security standards like DNSSEC.
“Finally, the complete immunity from federal and state laws granted in these pieces of legislation to several industries could set off an anti-consumer and anti-competitive wave that will strike at the very core of the Internet. The fact that Congress is considering these haphazard bills is a cause for alarm.
“Throughout the public debate for the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act, I have often stated that at heart of this issue are fundamental questions about what the Internet and free speech means to Americans, intellectual property rights holders, and our economy; questions that are too important to haphazardly rush through Congress without a full and open debate.
“No one denies that copyright infringement and piracy are serious problems. What is under discussions is the protections that legitimate sites should have and by what method we expose these criminals while allowing lawful businesses and people, like the constituents in my district, to continue to innovate in ways that change the way we look at the world.
“This why I proudly support the OPEN Act. Not only for how it is crafted, properly targeting and defining rogue actors without putting innovation in danger, but also the way in which it was crafted: in a full open forum that has allowed for robust debate.
“It is my sincere hope that the introduction of this bill represents a critical point in this debate, where diverse groups of stakeholders come together and thoroughly work on a solution.”