Open Letter to Senator Scott Brown Regarding SOPA

Dear Senator Brown:

I’ve been watching your first term in office with interest. I’ve also been a web developer since the early days of the web. The entire course of my life has been affected by its tides. So I have a personal stake in the passage of the SOPA bill.

This new piece of legislation promoted by powerful industry groups like the RIAA and the MPAA would stifle the free exchange and flow of ideas that has allowed many people — myself included — to change the course of their lives. It is essentially unenforceable and flies in the face of the spirit of collaboration that allowed nerds, geeks, hackers, designers, writers, and artists to make the Internet the thriving, global, decentralized entity that it is today.

There’s a lot of talk in the media these days about how large corporations are using their money to shape policy and legislation to benefit themselves instead of the American people as a whole. In your newsletters, you often talk about bringing jobs to Massachusetts. As you well know, the Boston metro is a hub for innovation in technology. Its residents even helped to develop the technology that made the Internet as we know it today. SOPA would kill the ability for thousands of small companies and individuals to express themselves freely and even make their fortunes on the web — all so that a few greedy corporations could keep even more money for themselves.

I know that you receive a great deal of funding from the lobbying groups promoting this bill. I and people like me — and there are a great many people like me in the state of Massachusetts — will be watching closely to see how you vote on this issue.



13 Replies to “Open Letter to Senator Scott Brown Regarding SOPA”

  1. This is worth sending to Brown’s office out of due diligence, but don’t get your hopes up.

    Back when I emailed Brown expressing opposition to COICA, the reply might have been composed by Patrick Leahy’s staff: it cited all the supposed advantages of the bill as though they were established fact, and mentioned none of the drawbacks.

    I suppose I should email Brown again wrt SOPA. He might be more willing to listen to voters now that his popularity has plunged going into this election year.

      1. sigh You’re right so I did but I didn’t want to.

        Back when I emailed him about COICA he didn’t take a position, but parts of his reply could have been supplied by Hollywood via Patrick Leahy’s office. It was strenuous to keep my PIPA email civil.

  2. FYI, I did indeed send this letter to Brown’s office and received the following reply:

    Dear Ms. Donovan,

    Thank you for contacting me regarding the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act (S. 968). As always, I value your input and appreciate hearing from you.

    Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced S. 968 on May 12, 2011. The PROTECT IP Act aims to provide law enforcement with tools to stop websites dedicated to online piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods, which range from new movie and music releases to pharmaceutical drugs and consumer products.

    I understand your concerns about online information sharing and censorship. On May 26, 2011, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, of which I am not a member, approved S. 968, and it now awaits further action. Similar legislation (H.R. 3261) has been introduced in the House of Representatives. Should S. 968 or related legislation come before the full Senate for debate, I will review it with your thoughts in mind.

    Again, thank you for sharing your views with me. Should you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact me or visit my website at

    Scott P. Brown
    United States Senator

  3. That’s much more evenhanded than his reply to my COICA email. Back then he stopped just short of endorsing the bill. Maybe he is learning about the merits and taking them seriously, or maybe he realizes that he isn’t polling well in an election year. His donation ledger is not encouraging, but at least he is not a cosponsor.

    Being on his 2010 donor list, I get email from his campaign site. Fyi, the return address is

  4. I opposed Coakley because of her behavior as a prosecutor. In addition to that, she was the worst campaigner I have seen in my 30+ years in MA, yet Brown seems to think he prevailed because of his innate wondrousness.

    The Tea Party types actively supported his 2010 campaign; apparently he has not kept them satisfied, nor has he established a new base in the political center. Meanwhile, Warren supporters are fired up. Many shoes will drop before November, but if the election were weeks away the race would be Warren’s to win. The betting odds reflect this.

      1. Okelle, I took your suggestion and contacted Brown wrt SOPA/PIPA. Please, in turn, contact the Warren campaign.

      1. It’s a moot point at the moment, but I’m pretty sure I know what her position would be. Given that her main talking point is about rights for the middle class, I’d be very surprised if she ended up siding with the RIAA and the MPAA.

        After the Wikipedia/Google/etc media blackout of January 18, it looks like SOPA/PIPA has been defeated — at least for the moment.

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