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Meet The Gay Congressman Leading The Charge Against SOPA

Till now, we’ve known Jared Polis as one of the few openly gay members of Congress, the Democratic Representative from Colorado who sits on the Committee on Rules and the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee., and who proposed the Every Child Deserves A Family Act, which would ban discrimination in adoption or foster care based on sexual orientation, marital status or gender identity.

But it turns out Polis is also a staunch opponent of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a proposed measure that would allow the Justice Department to file court orders against websites accused of copyright infringement and make unlicensed streaming of content a criminal offense complete with jail term.

Supporters say the bill protects copyright holders but opponents say it will be abused, threaten free speech and basically bring the Internet to a screeching halt. Many sites, including Reddit and the English-language version of Wikipedia are planning blackouts today in protest of the measure. (Google is standing in solidarity with a blacked-out banner)

We can imagine instances where SOPA would wind up harming gay educators and activists, but it seems like Polis’ stake is connected to another facet of his life: He’s a big gamer and he thinks SOPA will kill the industry.

He explained his opposition in a statement:

Hi, this is Congressman Jared Polis of Colorado. As a member of the League of Legends community (partial to Anivia and Maokai), and as someone who made his living as an Internet entrepreneur before being elected to Congress, I’m greatly concerned about the future of the Internet and gaming if Congress doesn’t wake up. You may have heard that Congress is currently considering a bill called the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.

While SOPA has a ton of problems, there are some significant issues that I thought fellow gamers might want to know about.

I’m particularly concerned that SOPA might stifle the kind of innovation that brings us games we love, such as LoL. The bill makes it far too easy for angry competitors to sue good law abiding companies out of existence. It threatens any company or website that depends on user-generated content, even companies like Riot. Instead of coming up with great ways to keep making games like LoL even better, companies will have to spend their money hiring lawyers. That’s why companies like Riot, who want to protect the games they create, are opposed to SOPA.

I’ve been working on alternative legislation that would protect the games companies create while also fostering innovation. But we also need you to call your members of Congress and let them know of your opposition to SOPA. This bill has a very real chance of passing, and it is up to all of who want to protect the Internet to take action. More information is available at http://keepthewebopen.com/. Please make your voices heard in this debate! I will be happy to respond to your posts below, and will check back every few hours today and respond to as many as I can.

We’ll have to wait and see if the blackout has any effect, but we’re not even sure Congress will notice: The House Judiciary Committee was supposed to continue debate on SOPA this month but since both Dems and Republicans are holding retreats over the next two weeks, it’s being tabled till February.

Hey, your lawmakers work hard. They need a vacation!

Photo: Rep. Jared Polis

By:           Dan Avery
On:           Jan 18, 2012
Tagged: ,
  • 14 Comments
    • Corn&Porn
      Corn&Porn

      SOPA will rip profits straight from the hands of those who work so hard—like actors, singers, and other spoiled Hollywood types. All together now: Awwwwwwwwwww.

      Jan 18, 2012 at 10:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pocket Otter
      Pocket Otter

      Is it just me, or is Polis extremely do-able?

      Jan 18, 2012 at 10:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • LandStander
      LandStander

      Correct me if I am wrong here, but I thought piracy was already illegal…

      Jan 18, 2012 at 11:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      “Hey, your lawmakers work hard. They need a vacation!”
      __________________

      Actually they tend to work from Tuesday to Thursday. They take months off in the summer, a month or so off around the holidays and multiple several week breaks throughout the year.

      Jan 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • newcityspot
      newcityspot

      SOPA was of course introduced by a Republicunt from Texas, the state that loves protecting the 2nd Amendment, but I guess now isn’t so interested in the first. I don’t even know why the rep from Texas would care – Texas produces almost nothing in regards to media. Texas just loves to ruin freedoms.

      Jan 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daez
      Daez

      @newcityspot: They care because this is internet censorship. This bill was set up to end free speech on the internet. Republicans, and Texas, are normally on the losing end of free speech online. That is not to mention the moral high ground, half the sites that got shut down would be porn sites.

      Jan 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • geoff
      geoff

      wasn’t their a comment from Gay Old Dude an hour ago?

      Jan 18, 2012 at 10:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TASTEY GOODIES
      TASTEY GOODIES

      THE INTERNET IS ONE OF THE FEW PLACES THE AVERAGE JOE CAN EXPRESS HIS OPINION IN A WORLD THAT CONTINUOSLY MAKES US FEEL EVEN MORE INSIGNIFICANT. WE HAVE A VOICE HERE AT QUEERTY AND ANYWHERE FREE SPEECH IS STILL FREE. TO ALL READERS AND QUEERTY MEMBERS PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION 2 STOP THE GOP AND THE ULTRA CONSEVATIVE FROM LITERALLY RAPING AND ROBBING US OF GODGIVEN RIGHT 2 FREE SPEECH!!!!!

      Jan 19, 2012 at 1:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Everett
      Everett

      @tasteygoodies, UHH no .. Educate yourself before making such a loud statement. There are in fact MORE Democrats in favor of SOPA/PIPA than Republicans. Here are there names:
      Alexander
      Amodei
      Ayotte
      Baca
      Barrow
      Bass
      Bennet
      Berman
      Bingaman
      Blackburn
      Blumenthal
      Blunt
      Bono Mack
      Boozman
      Boxer
      Brown
      Cardin
      Carter
      Casey
      Chabot
      Chambliss
      Chu
      Coburn
      Cochran
      Conyers Jr.
      Coons
      Cooper
      Corker
      Cornyn
      Deutch
      Durbin
      Enzi
      Feinstein
      Franken
      Gallegly
      Gillibrand
      Goodlatte
      Graham
      Grassley
      Griffin
      Hagan
      Hatch
      Holden
      Inhofe
      Isakson
      Johnson
      King
      Klobuchar
      Kohl
      Kyl
      Landrieu
      Larson
      Leahy
      Lieberman
      Lujan
      Marino
      McCain
      McCaskill
      Menendez
      Nelson
      Nunnelee
      Owens
      Quayle
      Reid
      Risch
      Ross
      Rubio
      Scalise
      Schiff
      Schumer
      Sessions
      Shaheen
      Sherman
      Smith
      Terry
      Udall
      Vitter
      Wasserman Schultz
      Watt
      Whitehouse
      ::source:: http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/
      The biggest problem we face is if I post a Michael Jackson song as my status on Facebook and then do not cite him I can face up to 5 years in prison (That’s one more year than the man who killed him) SOPA/PIPA is to vague and holds the ISP responsible for the music/movie industries “dirty work” Moral of the story. Doesn’t matter Call your rep and tell them no on SOPA/PIPA. Where people can take advantage of something .. They will.. The internet should be open and free to everyone.

      Jan 19, 2012 at 10:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Gervais
      David Gervais

      In wasn’t “here” yesterday, so someone please tell me what Queerty did yesterday to protest SOPA/PIPA?

      Also, it’s not too late to phone and email your congress reps and senators.
      Lamar Smith’s ph# is 202 2244944, and in the US only, his email is available at: http://www.congress.org/bio/id/575

      To motivate you, hardly a day goes by where SOPA would shut down Queerty, without due process, appeal or recourse.

      Jan 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Gervais
      David Gervais

      Re: Evert
      I found this through a link at http://boingboing.net/ which also has several good articles about SOPA/PIPA.

      https://torrentfreak.com/pipa-sopa-co-sponsors-drop-like-flies-120118/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Torrentfreak+%28Torrentfreak%29
      (Sorry about the long version of the link.)

      Regarding artists making a living, I refer you to Cory Doctorow, who has stated that he made more money by putting his stuff up for free with a Creative Commons license.
      His site is at craphound.com .

      Jan 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Gervais
      David Gervais

      Ooops! Should I have said?
      …hardly a day goes by where SOPA wouldn’t shut down Queerty…

      Jan 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Gervais
      David Gervais

      You can contact your congress rep via:
      http://www.congress.org/congressorg/directory/congdir.tt

      also from Representative Polis’ site:
      “If you would like to ask Congressman Polis to support or oppose a bill, the best way is to send an email [ http://polis.house.gov/Contact/ContactForm.htm ] or to call the Washington office at (202) 225-2161.”

      Jan 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Everett
      Everett

      Excellent stuff David … Thank you .. :D

      Jan 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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