from the interesting-developments dept
Whatever you might think of Rep. Michele Bachmann, she certainly gets attention, and as a bunch of folks have just sent over, she’s just come out against PROTECT IP. In a letter responding to someone asking her opinion, she stated:
Thank you for taking the time to contact me with your opposition to S. 968, the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property (PROTECT IP) Act. As your Representative for the 6th district of Minnesota, your views are very important to me and I appreciate hearing from you.
While I understand the importance of safeguarding Americans’ intellectual property rights, I have serious concerns about government getting involved in regulation of the internet, and about ambiguities in this legislation which could lead to an explosion of destructive, innovation-stalling lawsuits.
This is likely as a result of recent Tea Party concerns about the bill as well, since Bachmann is often associated with the Tea Party.
The interesting bit here is that it certainly sets things up for some more vocal opposition of PROTECT IP. Supporters of the bill had been arguing that it would just be “the usual suspects” who were against PROTECT IP, and would talk about how they had bipartisan support for the bill. But we’re seeing more and more people in the House begin to express concerns about the bill… and do so on both sides of the aisle. Intellectual property issues, for better of for worse (and I think, for better) have never been a really partisan issue, and I do hope it stays that way, but Bachmann’s opposition puts up another roadblock in place to getting PROTECT IP passed. We’d heard that the House version of the bill was supposed to drop today… (after a couple months of being told “in the next two weeks”), but then late yesterday heard that it was pushed back again. It wouldn’t be surprising to find out that Bachmann taking a position on it is part of the delay. At the very least, this is going to mean that PROTECT IP won’t be able to sail through as supporters expected, and (most importantly) there is likely to be a lot more public scrutiny of a bill that is nothing but a favor to the MPAA/RIAA.
In the end it’s good news that people elected officials are increasingly realizing that IP issues aren’t as simple as has been put forth by the entertainment industry for so long. The fact that entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and top technologists have already vocally expressed their concerns about PROTECT IP hindering innovation, it’s nice to see that these voices are starting to be heard. Maybe, just once, the entertainment industry won’t get away with a bill to prop up their failing business models without everyone else just letting it happen.