Open letter to Rep. Adam Schiff, regarding SOPA and PIPA bills.

Dear Rep. Adam Schiff (representing California's 29th district).

Although I presently live outside the US, I am a registered voter in the 29th district which you represent. I kindly ask that you will drop your support of SOPA.

The continuing infringement of intellectual property in the internet is clearly a major problem which should be addressed. I know, I have personally witnessed copyright infringement (both mine and of friends). However, SOPA and PIPA are bills that may address internet piracy but they will do so at a very costly price, they will infringe the freedom of speech!

In addition to having witnessed copyright infringement, I have also experienced an attempt to hush me up through a copyright infringement allegation. Clearly, if SOPA or PIPA would have been intact, my voice over the internet could have been more easily silenced. The SOPA or PIPA blacklisting of sites will be the beginning of a very slippery slope!

Let me also point out another aspect, one which is more apparent from where I presently live in Israel. One of the methods through which autocratic regimes, such as those found around israel, control their population, is through control of the internet. Clearly, we think of these "big brother" measures as anti-democratic and infringement of civil rights which those populations should have. Surely, the US cannot by seen as hypocritical - on one hand opposing this kind of behavior by autocratic regimes, but on the other, adopting this behavior at home.

Please, do fight internet piracy, but do not do so with SOPA or PIPA. It will cause more damage than good. It will hurt democracy, and if you do continue to support it, it will hurt you in the next elections as well (you won't get my vote!)

Prof. Nir Shaviv

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