Rep. Anna Eshoo (From Silicon Valley!) Thinks PROTECT IP Is About Immigration?

from the well,-it-does-involve-ICE... dept

Last week, we noted that a bunch of law professors (at final count, 108) signed on to a letter to every member of Congress highlighting problems with PROTECT IP. One of the key authors of the letter was Mark Lemley, the respected lawyer and Stanford law professor, who is one of the leading voices on this and related issues. He, of course, sent the letter directly to his own elected official, Rep. Anna Eshoo, who represents a large part of Silicon Valley, and thus should be one of the Congressional Reps leading the charge against this horrific bill -- especially since a bunch of VCs (many of whom live and work in her district) have pointed out that if this goes through, they'll fund less innovation in her district.

In other words, this is an issue that Eshoo should be front and center on. Unfortunately, the only Silicon Valley Rep. who has actually bothered to pay attention and speak out against this has been Rep. Zoe Lofgren, from a nearby district. I've really been quite disappointed that none of the other Silicon Valley Reps, including Eshoo, Jackie Speier and Mike Honda, have spoken up about this awful legislation. But, it's even worse than that when it comes to Eshoo. In response to Lemley's letter, Eshoo appears to have responded to a totally unrelated issue: immigration:
"I do share your concerns about illegal immigration and have consistently supported legislation to strengthen our Border Patrol. Our immigration system is in dire need of reforms. This is a national security issue and an economic one as well. We have porous borders and illegal crossings which make us vulnerable on the security front. We have heavy backlogs to process those waiting to become citizens (years-worth) in a system that is highly strained, lengthy and inefficient. There are, as you know, 10 to12 million people in our country without legal status. Each of these issues represents a critical problem which must be addressed and I think they need to be taken up comprehensively to overhaul the system.

While I agree that more needs to be done to curb the flow of illegal immigrants into our country, I shall continue to vote against legislation that in large part places unnecessary burdens on individuals who have legally immigrated to the U.S."
Oops. Now, in our discussions about Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) group's Operation In Our Sites effort to seize domain names without due process and under very questionable legal theories, many people have asked: what does immigration have to do with copyright? The ICE folks and their supporters note that one of ICE's mandates is to keep counterfeit products out of the country, and the group has stretched and twisted that mandate into believing it now can run roughshod over any intellectual property issue, no matter how little it grasps the legal details. So perhaps in some twisted way, folks in Eshoo's office think that PROTECT IP is an immigration issue? Or we can go with Occam and his razor and assume that Eshoo's people sent back the wrong form letter. Either way, it's not particularly comforting to think that this is the level of concern they put in when a leading voice on a particular issue contacts them about a bill under discussion.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    The Incoherent One (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:23am

    I believe

    A staffer simply confused which letter was which, and therefore mailed (sent) the wrong canned response letter. The Representative probably never saw the actual letter, does not actual care, and just met with an MPAA rep. about her reelection funding.

     

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  2.  
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    aiming4thevoid (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:43am

    Re: I believe

    Cynic!

    Probably dead on though :)

     

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  3.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:43am

    Eshoo! Gesundheit.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:48am

    Actually, that reads just like standard boilerplate on any ICE rated issue. ICE comes up, and those who want to give every idiot who snuck over the board citizenship roll out the same tired speech.

    It's proof that this official is running on autopilot, opposing things without understanding them.

     

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  5.  
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    Dan (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:50am

    Re: I believe

    I agree with [the surprisingly coherent] One. a staffer screwed up. I suspect that most of Congress is ignoring the backlash. The bill has already been paid for after all.

     

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  6.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:50am

    that's not a response

    that's the canned crap every candidate has. the verbiage is almost identical across every single state. Not a single actual constituent writes those. It's a database of "We know your stuff is important to you, so read our canned letter" stuff.

     

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  7.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:56am

    Re: that's not a response

    *every political figure*.

    There's a "republican set" and a "democratic set".

    It's short for "we didn't read the email you sent us"

     

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  8.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:57am

    It makes perfect sense...

    I wrote a letter to my Senator recently and received a form letter response that had zero to do with my actual letter.

    What many Senators and Congressmen do is do a quick keyword search of mail, and send a form letter if that keyword search returns a result that has a prewritten form letter.

    In this case, the letter probably mentioned ICE a few times and thus that flagged the letter as dealing with immigration.

    For another example, I wrote that same Senator about the Protect IP act and have not received any response, but both of my letters about the PATRIOT Act have been responded to in a matter of days with form letter responses.

    In the end, this shows that our elected representatives have no intention of actual representing those who elect them. They might as well have a big sign stating, "Unless you plan on donating the my next campaign, I don't give a crap what you have to say."

     

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  9.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:01am

    Re: I believe

    That. But it still made me go "WTF?!" when I read this article.

     

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  10.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:09am

    Re:

    YES!

    Well done, Fudbuster. You beat me to the funny....

     

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  11.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:21am

    Meta-view: similarly, pontificate here as much as you can,

    doesn't affect Mike's or anyone else's views.

    t's not that protest isn't worthwhile for its own sake -- one should do some -- but for a "respected lawyer" (IS there such a thing? I almost couldn't suspend disbelief enough to get past that point) to expect that his name is so prestigious as to be recognized and immediate attention given to the weight of his "authority" from a Congress person just borders on insane chutzpah.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:25am

    Re: Meta-view: similarly, pontificate here as much as you can,

    It also seems a little bit like Mike is desperate to find any crumb of a failing in the other side. It is really quite petty to write up a whole post about something that even the choir members here can see is nothing more than a pre-made reply based on ICE being in the discussion rather than any great look at the issues.

    It's really quite sad that Techdirt stoops this low.

     

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  13.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: Well done, "Dark Helmet"!

    Don't need trolls to lower the level of discourse to trivial when you're here.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Meta-view: similarly, pontificate here as much as you can,

    Blah blah blah...

    Yeah, yeah, can't find any fault with the article, so you just make a generic insult. We've seen this before, get some new shtick.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:38am

    My senator does this too

    A while ago I sent my senator a letter regarding the Realdvd v. MPAA verdict. He replied back acknowledging my concern with the completely different Tenenbaum case. I guess he saw the words 'copyright' and 'court' and figured he didn't need to read anymore.

    I don't contact his office much anymore. What's the point if he's not even hearing what I say? I only hope he starts a long and pleasant surprise retirement next year.

     

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  16.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re:

    That one was too easy. ;)

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Meta-view: similarly, pontificate here as much as you can,

    What? Can't you read? I find plenty of fault with the article. It's obviously a canned response, and it has nothing to do with ICE and domains. Why go any further?

    Why defend the post when it is clearly intended only to mock the opposition?

     

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  18.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Meta-view: similarly, pontificate here as much as you can,

    And you see no problem with that? You don't see a problem with a person's elect representative, you know the person elected to represent the people in their district, is not actually reading mail and only bothers to do key word searches and send canned responses?

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:49am

    Feinstein sent a great response...

    I sent Feinstein a steamed e-mail over her support of PROTECT IP - and while it took awhile (probably have to get that form letter pulled together after all), I was kind of impressed by the length and content of the response.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Meta-view: similarly, pontificate here as much as you can,

    I see a problem with it, but not in relation to slamming the protect IP act. It's a gratuitous hit piece, and really lowers the level of discussion. It makes Techdirt as a whole look a little desperate to find "issues". It makes me wonder what other anti protect-ip pieces posted here might be a little less than fair.

     

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  21.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Meta-view: similarly, pontificate here as much as you can,

    Why defend the representative who represents you at that level when they miss the point?

     

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  22.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Meta-view: similarly, pontificate here as much as you can,

    I really didn't see this article as a slam on Protect IP as much as it was a slam on the road blocks that those who are against it must face to get heard by our elected officials.

    If powerful VC's can't properly voice opposition to the bill with their elected representatives, what chance do those who lives will be destroyed when enforcement of the law starts have?

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 9:53am

    The ICE folks and their supporters note that one of ICE's mandates is to keep counterfeit products out of the country, and the group has stretched and twisted that mandate into believing it now can run roughshod over any intellectual property issue, no matter how little it grasps the legal details.

    Stretched and twisted? ICE runs the National Intellectual Property Rights Center in Alexandria, VA. I'm pretty sure that they received direction in setting up that operation and dream it up (and fund it) while standing around the water cooler. ICE has a mandate, it's not some renegade agent dreaming up and implementing Operation In Our Sites.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Meta-view: similarly, pontificate here as much as you can,

    If powerful VC's think that writing a letter to their rep is going to change much, they are sadly wrong. Hundreds (if not thousands) of people write to the various reps every day, and the only way to handle the influx is to filter, filter, filter.

    If the VCs want some attention, they should work to get a meeting. Sending a letter and then mocking the off topic response really doesn't add much to the discussion either way. It just proves that they took a weak approach and failed. The error is as much on them, I guess.

     

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  25.  
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    Miff (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 10:10am

    Writing to an elected constituent? You might as well send fan mail to Justin Bieber, you'd have a better chance of getting the intended person to read it.

    Hell, for all I know, modern technology allows them to open, OCR, respond with a pre-printed response, and destroy any trace of the letter without human eyes ever touching it.

    And god help you if you think email does anything.

     

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  26.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Meta-view: similarly, pontificate here as much as you can,

    Yes, because the average person is going to have the resources to schedule a trip to DC, a meeting and pay for the representative's $75 lunch.

    I think a VC might be able to wing it, but if that is what it takes to get the attention of your elected representative, then the average person is pretty much screwed.

    I understand that elected officials receive a lot of mail, snail and electronic. However, it would be nice if this mail passed by an actual human's eye every once in a while.

     

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  27.  
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    Hulser (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 10:36am

    Re:

    Eshoo! Gesundheit.

    I was going to go with "Eshoo obfuscation."

     

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  28.  
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    Jim D (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 10:43am

    One of my senators (the other didn't respond to my email) thinks that it's because law enforcement needs tools to enforce counterfeit goods restrictions:

    from Sen. Lautenberg: "The “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act of 2011” (S. 968) would give law enforcement additional tools to combat the illegal online sale of counterfeit or copyright infringing goods. Specifically, this bill would give the Attorney General the power to serve issued court orders on search engines, payment processors, advertising networks, and Internet service providers. It would allow suit against site operators, but would not allow law enforcement to block access to a site. This bill would also require plaintiffs to sue the owner or registrant of a domain name before bringing suit against a site itself."

    The irony is that the one thing he says this bill won't do is "allow law enforcement to block access to a site", which is something that law enforcement (ICE) has already grabbed for itself.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 10:45am

    You know, gun control is an important issue facing this country. I just don’t get why we’re talking about it on Techdirt.

    /Eshoo

     

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  30.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 11:00am

    It hurts when IP. Protect ME.

     

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  31.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Jul 14th, 2011 @ 9:45am

    Eschoo and PROTECT-IP

    Wow - great reporting.
    I will have to rethink voting/campaigning for Eschoo.

     

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  32.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Jul 14th, 2011 @ 11:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Meta-view: similarly, pontificate here as much as you can,

    It makes Techdirt as a whole look a little desperate

    Definitely not as desperate as you and your ilk trying to come down hard at it. And failing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    dwg, Jul 18th, 2011 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Meta-view: similarly, pontificate here as much as you can,

    Yea, you're right: politicians paying zero attention to things isn't worthy of our attention. Keep sheeping.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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