BLACKOUT NEWS

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

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14 Comments

  • 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.

  • Pocket Otter

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

  • LandStander

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • geoff

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

  • 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!!!!!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 .

  • David Gervais

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

  • Everett

    Excellent stuff David … Thank you .. :D

Comments are closed.