Sunday, 2012-01-22; 23:16:27

On Wednesday, Stop SOPA Day, I took the time to write out two snail mail letters to Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. I addressed, stamped, and sent them off that evening. Even though both SOPA and the PROTECT IP Act have been delayed indefinitely, the letters will probably have arrived after that announcement by committee chairs. Nevertheless, here is the full text:

Dear Senator [Barbara Boxer or Dianne Feinstein],

I am a resident of California, and I’m writing to protest your pledged support for the PROTECT IP Act, a law that will threaten the very open and innovative nature of the internet.

It is appalling to me that a longtime U.S. Senator such as yourself does not avail herself of the numerous technology experts that almost unanimously say that this legislation is incredibly harmful to the internet. It is appalling to me that the hearings on this legislation were packed with media conglomerates who have a vested interest in protecting an outdated business model, and only one technology company was invited to participate. It is appalling to me that my representative — you — is actively ignoring the possibility of educating herself about technology, and is willfully remaining ignorant because of the money that media companies have contributed to her campaign: [$571,600 or $54,750].

In addition, the supposed impetus behind this legislation is to combat “piracy”, a problem that is almost farcically false and made up. Tim O’Reilly, publisher of technology books at O’Reilly Media and a person who makes money off of creative works, actively questions whether piracy is really a problem. Please read his post here:


Piracy is not a problem. Existing laws protect creative works well enough, and copyright law is actually overprotective. The duration of copyright, under the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, is lifetime of the author plus 70 years. This is ludicrously long, and prevents even works from the mid-1800s from being released into the public domain, where everyone would ultimately benefit from the wide availability of content. And current law imposes penalties of up to $150,000 per work, which is absurdly out of touch with the actual amount of monetary damage caused.

I am a software engineer, and while I don’t enjoy it when people don’t pay for my work, I am not concerned about the problem. I still get paid without threatening anybody for “stealing” the apps that I write. Have you actually talked to anyone about this issue?

My representative, Rep. Anna Eshoo (and, soon, Rep. Nancy Pelosi) is opposed to the PROTECT IP Act’s counterpart in the House, the Stop Online Piracy Act. Talk to her about this issue, and find out why she opposes it.

For more information, here is a technical analysis of why PROTECT IP would be devastating to the internet:


Know that if you vote for the PROTECT IP Act, I will not vote for you in the next election.


Simone Manganelli

Photo of PROTECT IP Letter

ProPublica publishes total campaign contributions related to SOPA and PROTECT IP.

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