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Update on SOPA / Protect IP Act


By U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I wanted to take a moment to update you on legislation in Congress designed to crack down on intellectual property theft on the Internet.

There are two bills introduced in Congress to deal with this issue – the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Unfortunately, both bills suffer from serious flaws that could hurt the innovation they are designed to protect.

I am a leading champion for intellectual property enforcement in the Senate. We need to crack down on other countries that rip off our inventors, steal our patents, and make cheap, counterfeit products that drive American companies out of business.

Just a few weeks ago, I raised the case of a Michigan woman who makes jewelry and sells it online. A Chinese company had stolen her designs and set up a website to sell her products – complete with pictures of her daughter modeling the jewelry! We absolutely must protect American innovation.

Unfortunately, the enforcement provisions in the legislation before Congress to address this issue have unintended consequences. I cannot support legislation that could jeopardize innovation and freedom on the Internet.

For these reasons, I will vote against the current version of SOPA and the Protect IP Act if they come before me in the U.S. Senate.

The Internet has revolutionized the way we live, work, and communicate with one another. It continues to be a major driver of jobs and prosperity in this country. We should not tolerate people stealing the work of American businesses and artists, any more than we tolerate other countries that steal our manufacturing jobs.

I hope that in the coming weeks, we can find a compromise that protects American innovators from this kind of theft without jeopardizing innovation and freedom on the Internet.