[IRP] Letter about PROTECT IP Act for Sign On

Jochai Ben-Avie jochai
Fri Jan 20 06:57:27 EET 2012

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to reach out and give a brief summary of what?s been happening
around PIPA and the letter you all signed on to.

As I?m sure many of you know, yesterday, more than 115,000 websites blacked
out to protest PIPA and SOPA. I spent a large chunk of the day on the Hill
and the phones in Senate offices were ringing non-stop. Senator Kirk?s
office, for example, said that they had received 5,000 calls in less than
24 hours. Some are saying that this is the most calls on *any* issue that
the Senate has *ever* received.

On the offline side, the protest outside Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand?s
offices in NYC coordinated by NY Tech Meetup was a rousing success, with
about 2,500 people turning out? perhaps the largest copyright protest ever.
Most of the Access Team was at the protest holding a giant 9x3 foot banner
that said ?Say No to PIPA and SOPA? and then called attention to the letter
from the human rights community, listing the URL, and the names of all of
the signatories. For more details and photos, check out our blog post

On the letter:

A group of human rights organizations (including myself) were on the Hill
yesterday pushing the issues we raised in the letter. My impression is that
a lot of Senators (and Representatives, but the focus is on the House at
the moment given the legislative calendar) are really starting to grok that
this legislation affects human rights and are pulling their support or
going from no position to opposition. The fact that respected human rights
like ours are speaking out is making it easier for Senators to wean
themselves off the ?there are no first amendment concerns in this bill
because it only deals with piracy koolaid.? I?ll also add that the section
on information location tools in particular seemed to have resonance and
didn?t appear to be an issue that staffers were familiar with.

Today, with help from the Free Press Action Fund, one of our
co-signatories, we delivered the letter to the full Senate. *It would be
really great if everyone on this list could follow up with any contacts
that you have on the Hill to make sure they see the letter.* The final
version of the letter can be found at https://www.accessnow.org/pipa-letter,
if you want to give a link to download the letter as a PDF use:

Access press release about the delivery of the letter can be found here:
*Please feel free to reuse this press release as you wish* (and change up
the quotes), key thing is just to get media attention around the letter.

While Tuesday?s vote is still a very real threat that we should be pushing
hard on, things seem to be going our way. This afternoon, I?ve heard that
Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader won't be whipping votes for the vote
on Tuesday, and Mitch McConnell (the Senate Minority Leader) has come out
against. However, if this bill passes a cloture vote on Tuesday, it?s about
95% down the road to becoming law, and at that point we can only hope for
amendments to make it better.

Complicating things a little bit is that a Kyl-Leahy brokered manager?s
amendment may drop as early as tomorrow. For those not so familiar with
these names, Sen. Leahy is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
and the lead sponsor of PIPA and Sen. Kyl is the Republican Whip (the
second highest ranking Republican in the Senate). For those who don?t speak
American legislative lingo, a manager?s amendment allows the lead sponsor
of the legislation (in this case Senator Leahy) to more or less
unilaterally rewrite the provisions of the bill, so PIPA post-manager?s
amendment may look like a very different piece of legislation. Leahy?s
office will try and sell this as a compromise, assuaging the concerns that
opponents and citizens of the internet have raised, but the messaging
around this should be ?you don?t compromise on human rights.? Moreover,
without seeing the actual language of the manager's amendment (which the
public probably won?t see until Monday), we're just kind of taking Leahy's
at his word that problematic elements have been removed, and there are too
many BIG problems with this bill to extend him that kind of trust. We need
rhetoric like the internet is too important an enabler of human rights to
make hasty decisions and backrooms deals about its governance.

For those who really want to dive deep into the inside the beltway
machinations and movements around this bill, Public Knowledge (one of the
DC groups that?s been leading the charge in the fight against PIPA/SOPA) is
holding a strategy call tomorrow at 1PM EST (GMT-5). Happy to pass on the
number to those interested.

If you have any questions let me know. Thanks for all your support!




Jochai Ben-Avie
Policy Director
Access | AccessNow.org
P: +1-347-806-9531 | S: jochaiben-avie | PGP: 0x9E6D805F
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