stop online piracy act

Congressman Lewis’ response, SOPA/PIPA

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Dear Mrs. Banks:

Thank you for contacting me about H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and S. 968, the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

Protecting intellectual property on the Internet is a complicated issue with several different proposals pending before Congress.  The bills which have received the most attention — SOPA and PIPA — are pending before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, on which I do not serve.

I understand your concerns about the importance of protecting intellectual property without harming free speech, innovation, or creativity.  This is a delicate balance to strike and I am committed to ensuring no Americans’ rights or freedoms are infringed upon.  I believe that a consensus on the issue between the content and technology industries is achievable.  Until this is achieved, I cannot support the current forms of SOPA or PIPA.

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill with witnesses from all sides of the debate in November and began marking up the bill last December.  After two days of discussion and amendments, the House Judiciary Committee indefinitely delayed action on SOPA.

Recently, the House Speaker announced that this legislation will not be considered in the full House of Representatives until consensus is reached, and the many outstanding issues are resolved.  It is unclear what, if any, action is expected in the Senate.  In order for a bill to be signed into law, the identical legislation must pass through both bodies of Congress and much work remains.

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with me; I truly value your perspective on this important issue.  As always, please feel free to visit my web site at for more information on legislation that interests you.


John Lewis
Member of Congress