I received your letter expressing 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.
The "PROTECT IP Act" (S. 968) gives 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 does not violate First Amendment rights to free speech because copyright piracy is not speech.
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 vital to California's thriving film, music, and high-technology industries.
I understand you have concerns about the "PROTECT IP Act." While I voted in favor of this bill when it was before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have also been working with California high-technology businesses to improve the bill and to address the concerns of high-tech businesses, public interest groups and others. I recognize the bill needs further changes to prevent it from imposing undue burdens on legitimate businesses and activities, and I will be working to make the improvements, either by working with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) or through amendments on the Senate floor.
On May 26, 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the "PROTECT IP Act" for consideration by the full Senate. Please know I will keep your concerns and thoughts in mind should the Senate proceed to a vote on this legislation. As you may be aware, Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) has introduced similar legislation, the "Stop Online Piracy Act" (H.R. 3261), in the House of Representatives.
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.
Wishing you a happy 2012.
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.