Senator Dianne Feinstein: So Out Of Touch, She Doesn't Realize Tech Companies Are Vehemently Against PROTECT IP

from the wake-up dept

In the debates over SOPA and PROTECT IP (PIPA), one thing that has been clear is that neither California Senator has been any help at all. When asked about this, I've been told, multiple times, that despite both being from Northern California, as long-term politicians they're completely ignorant of technology issues, and "follow the money" down to Southern California. We've already written about Zach Carter's excellent behind the scenes report on the politicking behind SOPA and PROTECT IP, but there's one ridiculous tidbit that was worth highlighting to show just how incredibly out of touch Senator Dianne Feinstein is. When asked about this issue, Feinstein appeared totally clueless, believing that the tech industry was fine with the bills:
When HuffPost asked Feinstein, a Protect IP co-sponsor, if it was difficult for her to navigate the bill with Silicon Valley and Hollywood on opposite sides, she responded: "I don't believe that they are. I thought we had reconciled the issues. The bill's been passed out of committee." The response seems incredible given the outcry from Silicon Valley, and Google in particular, but the complexity of the legislation has left many lawmakers vulnerable to K Street spin.
Apparently Feinstein is completely blind to the very vocal outrage from some of the largest tech companies around, including Google, Yahoo, eBay, Twitter, Facebook, Mozilla, Wikipedia and more. This is not someone listening to the people. It's someone following the money.

Filed Under: california, clueless, copyright, dianne feinstein, protect ip, silicon valley, sopa


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  1. icon
    David Cortright (profile), 15 Dec 2011 @ 3:43pm

    Here is Senator Feinstein's response letter

    I wrote a physical letter to Senator Feinstein voicing my opposition to PROTECT IP. I thought it was particularly ironic that she pointed me to her YouTube channel at the bottom of the letter. That is one of the first sites that will be shut down should this ever become law.
    ----------------
    Dear Mr. Cortright :

    I received your letter expressing your opposition to the "Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act," commonly known as the "PROTECT IP Act." I appreciate knowing your views on this matter.

    America's copyright industry is an important economic engine, and I believe copyright owners should be able to prevent their works from being illegally duplicated and stolen. The protection of intellectual property is particularly important to California's thriving film, music, and high-technology industries.

    The "PROTECT IP Act" (S. 968) would give both copyright and trademark owners and the U.S. Department of Justice the authority to take action against websites that are "dedicated to infringing activities." These are websites that have "no significant use other than engaging in, enabling, or facilitating" copyright infringement, the sale of goods with a counterfeit trademark, or the evasion of technological measures designed to protect against copying. The bill would not violate Internet users' First Amendment right to free speech because copyright piracy is not speech. On May 26, 2011, this legislation was reported favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration by the full Senate.

    I understand that you oppose the "PROTECT IP Act." While I supported reporting the bill to the full Senate, please know that, prior to the close of the 111th Congress, I worked with California high-technology businesses and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to improve upon language from previous versions of the bill and to address the concerns of legitimate high-tech businesses, public interest groups, and others. However, I recognize that the bill needs further work to prevent it from imposing undue burdens on legitimate businesses and activities, and I will be working to make the improvements, either by working in cooperation with Chairman Leahy or by offering amendments on the floor of the Senate. Please know I will keep your concerns and thoughts in mind should the full Senate consider the "PROTECT IP Act."

    Once again, thank you for sharing your views. I hope you will continue to keep me informed on issues of importance to you. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841.

    May I wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season.

    Sincerely yours,

    Dianne Feinstein
    United States Senator

    Further information about my position on issues of concern to California and the Nation are available at my website, Feinstein.senate.gov. You can also receive electronic e-mail updates by subscribing to my e-mail list. Click here to sign up. Feel free to checkout my YouTube Page.

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