Senator Ron Wyden To The Internet: Thank You For Speaking Up… But We're Not Done Yet

from the thank-you-internets dept

You may have heard that today’s been quite a day online and in Congress, concerning SOPA and PIPA. Senator Ron Wyden — the first politician in Congress to take a direct stand against these bills at the very beginning, and who was brushed off by the opposition — has now offered up what can be reasonably described as a thank you letter to the internet for speaking out on this important issue, and making it clear to many in Congress that this is not an issue that everyone takes lightly.

Unfortunately, not everyone in Congress has heard you yet (though, the phones are ringing quite loudly). As Wyden notes, Senator Reid still wants to move forward with the cloture vote next week, and these bills absolutely could continue to progress.

January 18, 2012

Innovators, Speakers, Thinkers, and Agents for Change
The World Wide Web

Dear Friends:

Today thousands of websites have chosen to voluntarily go offline or modify their home pages with public service information. Some have called this a stunt. I say it’s a brave and poignant reminder that we can’t take the Internet for granted.

The Internet has become an integral part of everyday life precisely because it has been an open-to-all land of opportunity where entrepreneurs, thinkers and innovators are free to try, fail and then try again. The Internet has changed the way we communicate with each other, the way we learn about the world and the way we conduct business. It has done this by eliminating the tollgates, middle men, and other barriers to entry that have so often predetermined winners and losers in the marketplace. It has created a world where ideas, products and creative expression have an opportunity regardless of who offers them or where they originate.

Protect IP (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are a step towards a different kind of Internet. They are a step towards an Internet in which those with money and lawyers and access to power have a greater voice than those who don’t. They are a step towards an Internet in which online innovators need lawyers as much or more than they need good ideas. And they are a step towards a world in which Americans have less of a voice to argue for a free and open Internet around the world.

Proponents of these bills say these arguments are overblown, but I say any step towards an Internet in which one person’s voice counts more than another is a step in the wrong direction. These are bills that should give us pause. These are bills that should be studied and debated. Congress should consult experts and consider alternatives and make 100% sure that any step it takes to police the Internet doesn’t change the Internet as we know it. This is why I put a hold on the Protect IP Act and its predecessor over a year ago and introduced a bipartisan alternative last month.

The Senate, however, has scheduled a vote for Tuesday, January 24 at 2:15 PM to override my hold and move the Protect IP Act towards passage. This will be the deciding vote that determines whether PIPA and SOPA move through the Congress or are turned back for more sober discussion.

We are up against a group of the biggest, most powerful, well-funded and well-organized interest groups in Washington. No one thought millions of Internet users would speak up or that those voices could overcome the power of these interests. Today you showed that the Internet is not just a platform for ideas, commerce, and expression, but also for political action that will defend those principles. Your voices must continue to be heard.

Thank you for standing up for what’s important, for continuing to speak out and for demonstrating that we should always stand up for what we think is right regardless of the odds. This is an opportunity to reshape the way Washington operates, not just responding to narrow interests but hearing the voices of millions of Americans whose rights and livilihoods are affected by our actions.


Ron Wyden
United States Senator

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Comments on “Senator Ron Wyden To The Internet: Thank You For Speaking Up… But We're Not Done Yet”

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Just John (profile) says:

Re: Re: Well...

Love this idea. Sadly, not living in the US, it is difficult for me to follow (I am an Arizonan, but currently living abroad).

A page that lists candidates, their past stances, and other useful information as an aggregate data would be immensely helpful for those like me when I cast my absentee ballot.

It could also be helpful for those day to day citizens in the US who don’t have the time to follow issues, so they can get a complete picture in a short time through a political aggregator.

I support your idea!

Loki says:


I already boycott Sony (which is kind of a shame because they have a few movies coming out this year I’d actually be interested in).

The truth is though, a boycott is never going to be that effective. Too many people need their “fix” and will even just pay the boycott lip service, or simple go see what they want later.

In my opinion, rather than trying to organize boycotts (or in addition to boycotts), a better idea is to try to push competing movies. For example, I do not believe Relativity Media is a member of the MPAA, nor anywhere near as aggressive at attacking their customer base as the major studios. They also have some decent movies coming out this year (The Raven, Act of Valor) that I have been heavily marketing to people I know to go see as alternatives to the major studios offering (for example as much as I like the Underworld series, I’m going to pass and go see Haywire instead).

Anonymous Coward says:

“This is an opportunity to reshape the way Washington operates, not just responding to narrow interests but hearing the voices of millions of Americans whose rights and livilihoods are affected by our actions.”

Isn’t this an indication that the government has been failing in its very basic duty to the citizens all these years?

Violated (profile) says:


That was a nice read but he is right when the MPAA and RIAA have recently pumped their highest lobbying funding ever into Congress to try and ensure these bills pass.

Sure enough early on they were headed for a quick pass and we can thank Senator Ron Wyden for delaying PIPA until now which has allowed our opposition to grow to huge numbers.

The 24th certainly is the key date when if the cloture vote is successful then PIPA is soon to pass in some form and SOPA would soon strike back. Well we have done the best we can today so let us hope the cloture vote fails and PIPA and SOPA are doomed. Then maybe we can all gather around the fire and discuss OPEN.

Just John (profile) says:

Thank your senator today

I personally stopped by the senators your tube page and send him not only a message thanking him for his efforts, but also posted on his C-SPAN video thanking him for his efforts and conveying my respects that he is speaking out for the people, not just indulging in the same bs as the other bought officials.

Seems like a good way to thank him back for his work on our behalf.

LC (profile) says:

A thank you to Ron Wyden

Thank you Ron Wyden. Had it not been for your efforts here, SOPA/PIPA could’ve been law by now, or at least, there wouldn’t have been any time to build up such a huge groundswell of opposition to them.

It’s clear that you’ve had the sound of money being flapped in your ear by the **AA’s and other vested interests over this since before the laws were even called SOPA and PIPA. But yet, you refused to listen to just those with the money, you did your own research and listened to your constituents on the matter, you said “NO” to those who push these laws, and probably denying yourself a fortune and/or a cushy job further down he track in the process. That is a mark of an outstanding politician. Keep up the good fight, don’t let us down now.

I salute you.

Loki says:

Unfortunately, not everyone in Congress has heard you yet (though, the phones are ringing quite loudly). As Wyden notes, Senator Reid still wants to move forward with the cloture vote next week,

Harry Reid isn’t listening because Harry Reid is 72 and has 4 more years in office. He will be 76, about a month shy of 77, by the time he’s up for reelection. At that point – having served 30 years in the Senate – he will likely “retire” and take a nice cushy, high paying lobbyist job like Chris Dodd did. In that scenario, why would it matter how many of his constituents he pissed off (since he wouldn’t be running again anyways) when pushing this legislation merely helps him negotiate a bigger paycheck down the line?

The Luke Witnesser says:

Here lies the truth about SOPA/PIPA that even TechDirt has yet to report: what MPAA, RIAA, and Hollywood execs do not want you to see.

The truth behind why these big companies responsible for SOPA and PIPA are also responsible for piracy itself is far more insidious than even their outmoded business model.

Hint: can you say, do as I say so I can crush you under heel?

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