The Blackout: Letter to a Senator (or Two)

Warning: Politics

For those of you following the SOPA/PIPA to-do, be warned: if you live in California, both of your Senators are flogging hard for this thing. Because of that, for these two characters I actually wrote a note rather than just calling, tweeting, or petitioning.

In case you want something to riff on, I’m hereby releasing my letter into the public domain, to remix as you see fit for the benefit of your Senators and Representatives:

Dear Senators Boxer and Feinstein,

As a writer and audio/video producer (with 8 novels, 20 short stories, 8 films, and 3 albums to my name), I have a vested interest in the enforceability of copyright. However, as one not attached to the large studios, none of the remedies in SOPA and PIPA will do me any good–instead, they will do me an immense amount of harm.

The lack of due process puts my livelihood at the mercy of larger businesses in my industry who may take offense to parody, or who may target my web provider due to the offending actions of other customers, or who may decide that their new high-concept film looks too much like one of my books or radio dramas, and that it’s easier and cheaper to shut me down rather than to negotiate a license fee from me.

More fundamentally, though, the future of the American economy depends on the openness of the Internet. Freedom of information and public discourse allowed science and technology to take root here to a greater extent than anywhere around the world in the 19th century; the Internet extends that cultural fundamental into the 21st century.

This bill, in seeking to protect big business, will cripple the economic and political power of the Internet to advance freedom, equality, opportunity, and human progress, both here and around the world. It will cripple the educational power of the Internet as well, cutting off millions from educational opportunities (such as free streaming college classes, Wikipedia, OpenCulture, and many more) that they would not otherwise be able to afford–all of which are legal under copyright law, all of which will be vulnerable to shutdown due to the lack of due process in PIPA.

The PIPA does not do what it claims, and has too much collateral damage to be worth the trouble. I urge you to reconsider your position, and vote against the bill.
Thank you
-J. Daniel Sawyer
Author and producer
ArtisticWhispers Productions

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