I few weeks ago I wrote to Senator Hatch expressing my disapproval of the provisions of SOPA/PIPA. This was his response, which includes references to the sweeping grandeur of the Wasatch mountains.
January 4, 2012Mr. Ryan KendrickDraper, UT 84020Dear Ryan:Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act.On May 12, 2011, Senator Patrick Leahy and I introduced the PROTECT IP Act. If enacted, S. 968 would provide law enforcement with important tools to stop foreign websites “dedicated to infringing activities.” In other words, the bill targets the most egregious offenders of online theft who profit from counterfeit products and pirated content. These goods can range from new movie and music releases to pharmaceuticals and consumer products. With this legislation, we send a strong message to those selling or distributing pirated content or counterfeit goods online that the United States will strongly protect intellectual property rights.The bill authorizes the Department of Justice (DOJ) to file a civil action against the registrant or owner of a domain name that accesses a foreign infringing Internet site, or the foreign-registered domain name itself. However, DOJ officials must first seek approval from a federal court before taking any action. In determining whether an Internet site is “dedicated to infringing activities,” a federal judge must weigh all of the facts carefully in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure – just like what happens today in shutting down an illegal bricks and mortar storefront.Unfortunately, there seems to be a common assumption with some online users that illegal downloads and purchases online are free and harmless. This is far from true. Fake pharmaceuticals threaten people’s lives. Stolen movies, music, and other products threaten the jobs and livelihoods of many people, and drive up costs for other consumers. Every year, these online thieves are making hundreds of millions of dollars by stealing American intellectual property, and this undermines legitimate commerce.This also has a direct impact on Utah. As you may know, Utah is considered a very popular state for film and television production activity. Nothing compares to the red rock of Southern Utah or the sweeping grandeur of the Wasatch Mountains. Utah’s workforce is also a draw to filmmakers who come for one of the most highly educated and hardworking workforces in our country. It is estimated that the motion picture and television industries are responsible for thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in wages in Utah. There is no doubt that intellectual property theft has a direct, negative impact on Utah’s economy and its workforce. This same impact can be seen nationwide.On July 22, 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee favorably reported S. 968 by unanimous consent. While it is unclear when the bill will be considered by the full Senate, the legislation enjoys strong support with 39 bipartisan cosponsors to date. Please know that my Senate colleagues and I are committed to crafting consensus legislation and welcome suggestions on ways to improve the bill. Unfortunately there has been some misinformation circulated about what the PROTECT IP Act aims to accomplish. In an effort to be of assistance, I have enclosed “Fact vs. Fiction” information about the legislation. I hope this information will be helpful to you.Again, thank you for writing. I welcome your continued input on issues of concern.Your Senator,Orrin G. HatchUnited States SenatorOGH:ckkEnclosure