Candice Miller for Congress, Michigan

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Bills prompt website blackouts

by Candice Miller on January 19, 2012

By CRYSTAL GARCIA
Times Herald
http://www.thetimesherald.com/article/20120119/NEWS01/201190309/Bills-prompt-website-blackouts?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE
Katy Burgess only could read about two things Wednesday on Wikipedia — the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act.
 
Wikipedia and several other websites went dark Wednesday in protest of the two pieces of federal legislation.
 
Burgess, 22, of Port Huron, said she didn’t know much about either until she saw her brother and many of her friends posting about SOPA on Facebook.
 
The purpose of the bills is to fight online piracy of copyrighted material such as movies and music, but opponents believe the wording is too broad and opens the door for online censorship.
 
The bills would allow the Department of Justice and copyright holders to shut down websites that violate intellectual property or sell counterfeit goods.
 
Representatives in Washington are concerned, too.
 
“I have been and remain opposed to the SOPA and PIPA legislation currently under consideration in Congress because I believe it threatens legitimate online commerce, which has been one of the few areas of growth in our economy, and the freedom of speech on the Internet, which has become so central to life in the modern world and must be defended,” Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, said in a statement.
 
Miller said she was happy to learn House leadership will not move SOPA, its version of legislation, forward until significant changes are made.
 
It’s a different story in the Senate, where Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he plans to move PIPA to the floor for a vote Tuesday.
 
In a statement provided by his office, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said he was “concerned about the current version of the bill.”
 
“I’ve been meeting with concerned people on all sides of the issue, and hearing from many constituents,” he said. “The Judiciary Committee is reworking the bill, and I’ll review the revised version carefully when it’s available.”
 
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., hasn’t taken a position on the issue.
 
Stabenow spokesman Matt Williams issued this statement to the Times Herald:
 
“Senator Stabenow appreciates hearing comments from so many people in Michigan about such an important issue. Protecting American innovation is critically important to protecting American jobs.
 
“At the same time, there are serious concerns about unintended consequences of the enforcement provisions and possible integrity and freedom through the Internet. In the coming weeks, she will be carefully reviewing the proposals in light of the concerns raised by constituents.”

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