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    Urge Congress To Reject The PROTECT IP Act

    UPDATE: The Hill is reporting that the Tea Party Patriots -- an 850,000-member Tea Party group -- slammed the Blacklist Bill, while referencing our op-ed in the Oregonian.  This is HUGE news, since Republicans in the House of Reps are about to introduce a version of the Blacklist Bill and they're sure to be jittery about going up against a wing of the Tea Party.

    ORIGINAL: We've got his back: Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has been our most consistent champion as he's stood up for Internet freedom and ferociously opposed the Internet Blacklist Bill. 

    Needless to say, this has upset some people: The corporations that have been pushing the bill have been slamming him on his home turf. So we had this op-ed published in the Oregonian on Sunday to make sure Wyden knows that we're still standing with him.

    Please give it a read -- and if you haven't yet emailed your lawmakers, will you do so by filling out the form at right?  You can use these links to ask your friends to email their lawmakers:

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    Stop The Internet Blacklist Bill

    By David Segal and Patrick Ruffini

    We are Tea Partiers and bleeding-heart liberals, we are artists and investment bankers, we represent the left and the right, and we support Senator Wyden as he comes forward, yet again, as a stalwart champion for First Amendment rights, innovation and digital security.

    The problem at hand is a bill called the "Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act" (PROTECT IP) and it aims to permanently change our digital landscape – that's why we're calling it what it is: The Internet Blacklist Bill.

    Imagine you're the successful owner of a heavily trafficked website. Your income and that of those with whom you work depends entirely on the advertising revenue and payments provided by visitors to your site. One day, without warning, your site no longer appears at its domain, your advertisers have backed out, and you can't even find your site on Google. You've been disappeared – blacklisted by new regulations set by Congress in the PROTECT IP Act.

    If passed, PROTECT IP would give the government dramatic new powers to target websites dedicated to the illegal distribution of copyrighted content. Violating sites would have their domain disabled in DNS servers (the servers that match the domain name with the numerical IP address and make sure you go to the websites you want to), and all third party sites, including search engines, would be required to remove the site from their registries and disable all links to the domain in question.

    Even worse, PROTECT IP also includes a "private right of action" that would allow rights holders to obtain a temporary restraining order against a domain in civil court. Instead, big content providers like the RIAA can target websites at their whim, urging courts to shut down anyone they accuse of violating U.S. copyright law.

    The entities accused of infringement wouldn't even get their day in court until after they've been shut down – they could appeal to the courts for relief only after the fact.

    Big interest groups in favor of PROTECT IP have recently pushed the idea that to be against this bill is to handicap aspiring artists and to be in opposition to a fair marketplace. We vehemently disagree. Regulations stipulated in PROTECT IP would cause tremendous damage to the infrastructure and security of the Internet and ultimately undermine the millions of entrepreneurs, businesses and artists who depend on a free, uninterrupted communications platform.

    Already, venture capitalists, engineers, and entrepreneurs (including Google CEO Eric Schmidt) have penned letters and petitions against PROTECT IP, citing the corrosive effect it would have on digital security and innovation. Human rights activists are terrified that PROTECT IP will provide comfort to totalitarian regimes that seek ever more control over Internet users in their own countries. More that 400,000 Americans have urged their lawmakers to oppose the bill. But ultimately, we are depending on lawmakers, like Sen. Wyden to make the final decisions and defend our rights.

    David Segal is Executive Director of the left-leaning Demand Progress and Patrick Ruffini is Executive Director of the right-leaning Don't Censor the Net, which together have generated more than 400,000 anti-PIPA contacts to Congress. 

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