Assemblyman Jim Tedisco today said he will introduce a resolution asking the New York State Legislature to call on Congress to stand firm against the controversial federal Stop Online Piracy Act/Protect IP Act (SOPA/PIPA) legislation that would impede free speech and the flow of ideas guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.
SOPA would expand the ability of law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking of copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods by targeting so-called “rogue websites,” especially those registered outside the U.S. If passed by Congress, the bill, which is vaguely worded, could shut down many popular websites such as Wikipedia, Google, YouTube, and Facebook.
“The framers of the Constitution never envisioned the Internet but they did want to protect our First Amendment right of free speech. There’s nothing more important in a democracy than the free exchange of ideas,” said Tedisco, former Assembly Minority Leader and current Assistant Minority Whip. “If SOPA passes, Facebook, YouTube and Google could be history. We need to protect copyright laws and intellectual property, but not at the expense of our Constitutional rights of free speech and expression.”
“Government is already trying to restrict too many of our rights and liberties. It shouldn’t be looking now to promote censorship on the Internet, restrict our online liberties and the sharing of our opinions and ideas,” said Tedisco, who, in 2009, successfully led the charge to stop the tax that former Governor Paterson sought to impose on online downloads from content providers.
In addition to First Amendment concerns, Tedisco noted that SOPA/PIPA could have a devastating impact on New York State’s growing high-tech industry and future jobs in the communications and technology fields.
“New York always has been a symbol of freedom and liberty for all people. While this resolution is non-binding, it would send a powerful message to New York’s congressional delegation and to the nation that we must protect our civil rights,” said Tedisco.
“New York should be our nation’s leader in supporting free speech on the Internet and protecting our state’s burgeoning high tech sector. I call on my colleagues in the Assembly to stand up for our First Amendment rights and say ‘no SOPA for the U.S.!’” said Tedisco.