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Submitted on
January 19, 2012


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A letter from my Congressman

Thu Jan 19, 2012, 9:58 PM
On Wednesday, I wrote a brief comment to my Congressman in Indiana to voice my opposition of SOPA.  Today, I got the response, which I would like to share with you.  Thank you to everyone who spread my Blackout Skin and Avatar, your comments and support are overwhelmingly wonderful.  I cannot possibly respond to everyone.  I'm sure this generic response is met to everyone who sent a letter to their Congressional Representative.  The letter is somewhat informative for those interested in following the legislation.  Mention of S.968/PIPA is brought up, however not discussed what details it entails.  I do not feel satisfied with this non-answer, as it does not say any indication of which side my Congressman purports to support.

Dear Gillian,

Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act.  I appreciate hearing from you.

Introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith, H.R. 3261 would seek to modernize criminal and civil statutes to increase the enforcement of copyright infringement on the Internet. Specifically, H.R. 3261 would authorize the Attorney General to seek injunctions against a foreign Internet site committing or facilitating online piracy or the copyright infringement of music, films, software, and other intellectual property created by U.S. firms. Additionally, the measure would narrow the definition of an Internet site dedicated to infringing activities, and would authorize the Attorney General to require search engines and payment collectors to restrict access and eliminate financial viability to such sites.

H.R. 3261 was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, where it is currently pending consideration.  The measure has 28 cosponsors and a companion measure has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Leahy.  On May 26, 2011, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary approved the Senate version of this measure, S. 968. Subsequently, S. 968 was referred to the full Senate, where it is currently pending consideration.

Thank you again for contacting me.  Be assured that I will continue to monitor H.R. 3261 with your views in mind.  Do not hesitate to let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.


Peter J. Visclosky
Member of Congress

I would like to quote Wikipedia on the matter of PIPA and what concerns it raises for the general internet populace.

Concern for user-generated sites

Opponents of the legislation warn that the Protect IP Act would have a negative impact on online communities. Journalist Rebecca MacKinnon argued in an op-ed that making companies liable for users' actions could have a chilling effect on user-generated sites like YouTube. "The intention is not the same as China's Great Firewall, a nationwide system of Web censorship, but the practical effect could be similar", she says.[citation needed] Policy analysts for New America Foundation say this legislation would enable law enforcement to take down an entire domain due to something posted on a single blog: "Yes, an entire, largely innocent online community could be punished for the actions of a tiny minority."[66]

As an artist who distributes and networks her art online, I feel I am directly impacted by the negative effects that this bill will cause.  My ability to sell a single artwork may be capsized should the sites I use, such as DeviantART, Facebook, Etsy, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Blogger, Webs, Google+, receive censorship due to user generated content.  I rely on these sites in order to facillitate my artistic endeavors.  And worse, if these sites are penalized, my personal social infrastructure would suffer the consequences.  

I do not feel satisfied that my views are being represented.  I feel like my only means of promoting my art is at stake here.  I am in a secluded community and cannot network via local galleries.  And via the internet, my outreach is worldwide.  I depend on the foreign market as well.  Several of my Etsy customers have been to Canada or Australia, and if I am no longer to reach out to them, I will lose potential sales and repeat business.  I am a stay-at-home mother and my only means to supplement our income is via my art sales and CSS commissions.  I depend on these sites to do just that.  I cannot afford advertising.  I cannot afford booths or tables at shows.  I cannot afford to display my art in a gallery.  I do not have an agent to represent my work.  I cannot even afford business cards.  I hand print all of my own.

I ask you, how will this effect you?  The blackout protest may be over, but the legislation is not.  It may be temporarily shelved, and under consideration.  I am not satisfied.  A complete revision which does not trample my artistic freedoms, does not censor and restrict and punish the websites I need so I can break out as an artist.  I will fight for DeviantART.  I want better copyright laws that do not damage the very medium copyright holders like myself use to purvey their craft.  I am effected and affected.

I say do not punish everyone to try to prevent the illegal acts of the few.  Which in all likelihood, those who practice illegal redistributions will still do so without repercussion.  Instead, I propose to remove the demand for illegal copyright materials.  If you cannot stop the supply, then make the demand go away.  How would this be accomplished?  Restrict profit.  Inflation and capitalization have driven theft and demand for free and cheaper goods.  Profit should be reasonable, and as costs go up, yes they would too, but when costs go back down, the retail should go back down as well.  When you see sales that are for 50%-75% off, you know damned well that these companies are not taking a loss except in their profit margins.  But when they sell a $5 shoe for $75 you're more likely to want the knockoff for $15.

This can apply to all consumables.  Medications and procedures as well.  How much are they profiting on our ills and suffering?  Counterfeit drugs are a serious problem.  People know of the dangers, but they will still turn to them in their financial desperation.  Restrictions on profit margins would revolutionize our entire medicare system.  Corporate greed is literally killing us.  Our government cannot afford free healthcare for one simple reason, healthcare costs too much.  Not because we would not be able to cover everyone.  We shouldn't have to sacrifice anyone to the wolves.  We shouldn't take funding from public institutions.  

Remove the demand for pirated EVERYTHING.  It's not just movies, books, music...  It is medicine, textiles, food.  If all these costs were fair, why would we buy from the vendor around the corner?  Why would we risk punitive measures when we could give our hard earned money to the workers and craftsman and manufacturers that earned it?  I do not want to steal.  I do not want to be punished for the acts of the few.  We know that corporations cut costs, sacrifice quality for quantity, and they keep raising their prices to rake in billions a day.  Who suffers?  Workers, consumers, everyone who isn't them.  And would they suffer if they were given a forced limit?  No, they would not be starving, they would not lose their homes, their lives are not in peril.  All they would lose is excess gains.  Greed.

I am interested in what you have to weigh in on this.  I do not normally voice my opinions on politics and economy all over the internet.  Other than to my own friends who will forgive me my strong opinions when they are in contrast to their own.  I welcome constructive debate.  I have presented my thoughts on this and welcome yours.  Though I do not welcome outright slander or hating.  Sentiments like that can be kept to yourself.

Articles of Interest

You are welcomed to share your articles which may be in opposition or support of my opinion.  Please post and I will share it here.

The New Piracy Law Does Not Apply to ArtistsSeriously, if anyone was freaking about this new bill S.978 like I was, (yes, that's what it is called) you absolutely need to read what I have written in this article as well as my journal entry titled: Pirating Was What It Was About. The content of this is almost the same as my journal but not really since I did add a few things.
It is very important. Don't even think about deleting it from your damn inbox because I am going to clarify everything that has been written below!!
Okay, to the vast majority of you know I was freaking out about the new bill going on, I am sorry since I've received very inaccurate and incomplete information from various people all over the internet and starting that now ridiculous petition. I might take it down but first I will tell all of you that this bill is for the people that has and had been pirating music and movies and distributing it to the public for free. This n
Protect IP Act Senate whip countIf you live in the states or are interested in what becomes of the innerwebs you can contact our senators to let them know how you feel about PIPA & SOPA
You can help by selecting a senator below and contacting them by phone or email (via OpenCongress' Contact Congress feature). When calling on the phone, be sure to identify yourself as a constituent, and give your mailing address for verification. Please be polite, and ask the senator's staff what the senator's position is on the Protect IP Act. If they indicate their position, use the key below to categorize the answer. If they don't, urge them to vote "no."
If someone has already recorded the senator's position, contact them again! The more calls/emails they get, the more they'll pay attention. If there position hasn't changed, please note your contact on the Protect IP Act Senate contact log so everyone can track their responses.
Slect Senator

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Lawenta Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I really wonder where this is going.

The idea of democracy was people ruling themselves, reaching the best and fairest living conditions imaginable. Yet "democratic" goverments are losing credibility worldwide: people no longer trust them to represent their views and best interests, yet the governments are still around.
Likewise, the idea of capitalism was to create opportunities and the best products needed by people; instead, big corporations are becoming the new overlords, visibly and invisibly affecting our lives to their liking, making us earn less and less and buy more and more.

How to overturn the situation? The discontent is growing. Merely voicing one's opinion accomplishes nothing (except perhaps losing a job), demonstrations are presented as unfounded, selfish and dangerous. I see some hope in petition-based pressure groups like Avaaz [link] , but I can't deny that what they do is basically lobbying, just for good causes. (Hopefully. Most of the times.) If groups like this ever become a substantial political force, no doubt will they get infiltrated and abused.

Is it even possible to transform or overthrow this cage of a system through peaceful means?
I highly doubt a change brought about by violence would be to the better...
GillianIvy Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Agreed. It often seems no win. Lobbying to the corrupt to complain about their corruption, to them is laughable. The government hasn't been for the people for a long time, only presents itself as though it were for us by us. If you spout your praises enough, then maybe others will believe them.

Thanks for reading my article. And thanks for the link. It is sad that the world needs activists like Avaaz to speak out against current evils. We are taught in school about history and mankind's dark past. But it is the present where it is still dark where we need change. Have we learned nothing from history? Violence begets violence.
Lawenta Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome.

It's sad that those activists need to exist, but it's hopeful that they do exist. :)

Violence is inherently unjust; it tends to hurt the innocent along with the guilty.
Kaishiru Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
What an informative post you've made. :omfg: I'm faving this journal/news article. It's too amazing. <3
GillianIvy Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the support ;D
Kaishiru Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome~ ;p
JamminJo Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I think it is fantastic that you took the time to write to your Congressman :nod: you asked "what does he support" ? the only thing we know for sure is (he supports replying with a form letter) :faint: how very sad.

I agree with your views on this Bill :nod: if passed posting (anything) to the internet could mean jail time for any person.

You have a lot of great responses from this journal and I do not want to restate what so many have already said.

I hope you keep this journal updated with your thoughts and research, you did an awesome job with this writing.

GillianIvy Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
;D There are a lot of great responses, a lot of passion here on DA :D I love this community. I'll try to keep this updated.

I tried to include it in the collections for #DevNews but it got removed. Not sure if I did something wrong. What is the procedure at the group?
JamminJo Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I will check it out.
SilverPixiGirl Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
Obama has flatly refused to sign the SOPA
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