A Message from Rep. Howard Coble about SOPA
In the recent flood of mailing, e-mailing, and phoning that went on regarding SOPA and PIPA, I sent a message to my congressman in the House of Representatives, Howard Coble (R-NC6). It was an e-mail message sent via his Web site at http://coble.house.gov/ – I also sent someone who represents me in Congress a physical message via Sendwrite, but I forget exactly who.
A few days ago, I received a response back from Rep. Coble’s office. (Kinda took a while, but on the other hand Rep. Coble has been in the hospital recently.) It says:
Dear Mr. Frazier:
Thank you for contacting our office regarding H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act. We appreciate hearing from you.
H.R. 3261 was introduced by Rep. Smith (R-TX) on October 26, 2011, and referred to the House Judiciary committee. This measure, if enacted, would authorize the U.S. Attorney General and individuals, who allege they have been infringed, to seek court orders against websites committing or facilitating online piracy; this includes but is not limited to, hosting copy-righted material without permission and facilitating or participating in the exchange of counterfeit goods. Proponents of this bill insist these safeguards are needed to combat the on-going assault on revenues directly related to piracy. Opponents contend the measure would unduly place a policing burden on companies, such as Google, by requiring them to monitor hyperlinks that appear in various search queries.
This measure is still under consideration by the House Judiciary committee and is expected to undergo a variety of changes before a final version is agreed upon. For this reason, we wish to withhold our support until a final version is produced. In the meantime, we have noted your thoughts and will keep them in mind as the debate continues.
As always, we appreciate hearing from you. If our office may be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Howard Coble, Member of Congress
The best TL;DR I can come up with for it is, “We’re waiting to see what it looks like once it comes out of committee,” which is a fairly average response for a Congressman about a controversial bill.
But Coble has a track record of being strongly pro-copyright, has received quite a bit of money from the media industry and other pro-SOPA groups, and was involved in removing Downfall parody videos from YouTube back when that was the major fad. So the fact that he isn’t co-sponsoring the bill and is in general “withholding his support” for it could mean that we are finally getting through to Congress. Even if his statement just means, “This is way too hot to touch now, but I’m going to vote for PIPA when it comes around,” that’s still a sign that we have a chance at defeating it too.
Granted, it could also just mean, “Go away, I just got out of the hospital and I’m still catching up with all of this.” Or something else entirely. I just wanted to share this with everyone.