Price: SOPA Not 'Going Anywhere'

East Cobb-area Congressman says that controversial anti-piracy legislation is also causing "confusion" for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

As Wikipedia and other websites observed a 24-hour blackout on Wednesday, Congressional phone lines and inboxes began lighting up and filling up. 

Members of the U.S. House and Senate got the message about controversial anti-piracy legislation that appears to be stalled for now. 

In a battle that's been framed as Hollywood v. Silicon Valley, support was fading on Wednesday for passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act

That's because of intense pressure from Wikipedia, Google and other online companies and interest groups, which believe the bills will censor free speech on the Internet and harshly punish those who violate copyright infringement and other intellectual property and content laws. 

Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell), who represents East Cobb, Cherokee, north Fulton, Vinings and Dunwoody and is the House Republican Policy Committee Chairman, admitted the bills are bottled up for now: 

"There is real confusion about it, number one, but number two, there are real concerns about whether or not it would it would shutdown the ability of entrepreneurs, new businesses and the like to utilize the Internet for their purposes."

In addition to sites going dark, protests were held outside lawmakers' offices in Washington and elsewhere. Key senators in both parties withdrew their support for the bills, causing an outcry from pro-SOPA entities, including the Motion Picture Association of America, that the blackout protests are an "abuse of power."

So where does Price actually stand on the issue? The investigative news site ProPublica lists his position as "unknown." The same organization indicates that Georgia's two Republican senators, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson of East Cobb, are supporters of the bills. 

In a posting Wednesday on his Congressional Facebook page, Price said only that "I appreciate the thoughts and concerns folks have been sharing regarding SOPA and PIPA."

But a commenter was frustrated with Price's reaction: "What are your thoughts, exactly? I didn't get a clear position from the article that you shared."

Another commenter, identifying himself as being from Cherokee County, wasn't subtle in issuing a threat to Price: "If you vote yes on this; I will be your worst nightmare. . . I am retired and I will make your defeat my FULL TIME JOB."

Vernon January 19, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Internet experts, organizations, companies, entrepreneurs, legal experts, journalists, and individuals have repeatedly expressed how dangerous these bills are. One of the main contentions is that Due process of the law will not be maintained! Websites can be shut down WITHOUT LEGAL RECOURSE for having ONE link that might go to IP material. Until there is LEGAL OVERSIGHT these bills NEED to be removed from any consideration. Just the idea of another dajaz1.com incident where the website was DENIED all due process of law should be offensive to any lawmaker. I believe these bills need to be killed altogether, not "fixed" as they are fundamentally flawed. They introduce problems that can easily damage the functioning of the net, or worse, silence free speech of the citizens of the USA. The SOPA/PIPA bills attack free speech easily as much if not more than any IP infringing websites. What is worse these bills do not prevent IP infringement nearly as much as they stifle innovation and lead to censorship. I consider them more dangerous to free speech than benefit to any IP holder. I fully agree IP should be protected, but not in a way that stifles freedom of expression and free speech, which is what these laws would do.
Julia Harris January 19, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Thanks for this perspective, Vernon. I'm all for IP protection, but not at the high price of censorship.


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