My first email to congress

This was in response to a letter from Congressman Wu, which was in response to a form letter I sent via the EFF on Bill HR 5211:

Dear Congressman Wu,

Thank you for your letter re: HR 5211. I am happy to read that you are concerned about both the copyright holder and the consumer’s rights, but I must say I am concerned that the real issue has been missed.

You see, Hollywood is using the MP3 trading as a way to weild a large stick over consumers. They want to pass other laws telling companies that they have to have approved DRM (Digital Rights Management) systems in place before being allowed on the market. Private industry must not be allowed to control Congress and innovation.

Congressman Berman’s bill allows for search and seizure (however intangible it may be) on a mere unauthorized use of a copyright. Under this law, do you understand that if you forward this email I am sending you to another congressman, then I would have rights to search your computers? That is right, you would be using my material in an unauthorized manner, granting me rights.

Congressman Wu, we have a Constitution with checks and balances already in place that allows law enforcement to seek a search warrant from a court should there be enough evidence to prove I am suspect of some illegal activity. HR 5211 is unneeded and will be a dangerous step towards the erosion of our rights as citizens of the United States.

Please don’t do what you can to ensure both sides have rights – Do what you can to kill this bill and remind Congressman Berman and your other colleagues that American’s deserve their fair use rights, that there are already laws in place for private industry to seek prosecution of people committing illegal acts and that Hollywood nor the Music industy should be given police state powers.

I am an honest citizen – I own every CD I have in MP3 form on my computer. With these new laws, I will be losing my rights to do what I want with music I have purchased.

Also note that these same industries tried to shut down the photograph, the VCR, etc, etc, and look how much money they have made from Blockbuster alone.

Hollywood and the RIAA need to stay out of politics, they need to stop blaming others for their lack of sales (maybe they should put out quality products like the rest of us) and they surely need to be rejected in this bill.

I develop software for a living. I know what piracy is. I can also tell you that I pay for products I use daily because I want to support the developers to the stay in business and continue to make my tools better. Smart people do this. Thieves will find ways to steal and justify no matter the technology in place.

Also note that this won’t stop overseas piracy. Why should we, the most free nation on the planet, live under the tyranny of big business?

I have never written to an elected official before this bill. Please, please see how this is encroaching on our rights and freedoms. Let industry put out product worth paying for and stop them from taking away our rights.


Steve Riggins