Dear Sens. Kyl, McCain and Rep. Flake, we have had this conversation before, but now we will have it again. Yes, Sen. Kyl, SOPA has as its objective the protection of intellectual property and that is a good thing. But ends never justify means! In this regard, SOPA and its supporters, Including you, are dead wrong!

SOPA and PIPA would put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary and counter-productive blocking of entire sites. This is exceedingly short-sighted, wrong-headed and misguided. Small sites won't have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Seldom can the really small sites effectively audit the contributions of others. Even if copyright isn't being infringed, big media companies who own those intellectual property rights may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors. An intention to misuse these proposed new laws easily could be the driving force behind this legislation! Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won't show up in major search engines. SOPA and PIPA would build a framework for future restrictions and suppression like we have never experienced before!

In a world in which politicians regulate the Internet based on the influence of big money, sites like Wikipedia cannot survive. These are free sites, sites which have to depend upon voluntary contributions from people like me. Neither of you two senators have to depend upon me, this because you are not running for re-election. But Jeff, you have to depend upon the likes of me. Should SOPA and PIPA become law, you can expect one heck of an uproar directed against you.

Sen. Kyl, you have told me SOPA is aimed at protecting the rights of copyright owners, but the "cure" that SOPA and PIPA represent is much worse than the disease. SOPA and PIPA are not the answer. Rather they would fatally damage an otherwise free and open Internet. Next thing we'll know, China will have a freer, more open Internet than will the U.S.! Protecting these freedoms is more vital than is protecting intellectual property rights which you so valiantly but wrong-headedly champion. I ask you now: Who is paying you to press for such dubious goals?

Dale Whiting


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