st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband" /> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband" /> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband" />
Wednesday January 18, 2012 | 03:39 PM

Maine members of Congress oppose the internet anti-piracy legislation that generated a wave of online protests today, including blackouts at prominent web sites such as Wikipedia.

None of Maine’s two U.S. House members or two U.S. senators is a co-sponsor of the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) or the Senate’s Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). And none of the four Maine lawmakers are members of the House and Senate judiciary committees that crafted the bills.

There has been intense public opposition from technology companies, web sites and internet users who say the legislation would result in censorship and impose regulatory and legal burdens that would force some sites to close.

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, says the legislation, designed to stop online pirates from stealing movies or music or selling counterfeit versions, is too vaguely worded.

“All a big entertainment or Internet company would have to do is claim that a website is somehow linked to piracy and it would immediately be blocked and censored,” Pingree said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans to hold a procedural vote next week on the Senate version of the bill to see if it has the 60 votes needed to move forward.

But Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the bill needs “significant revision” before it should be allowed to move forward in the Senate.

“Rather than the Senate moving too quickly on the PROTECT IP Act, we should instead proceed cautiously, in an open and fair amendment process, to ensure that the legislation is narrowly tailored to target criminals while also preserving the integrity of the Internet,” Collins said in a statement. Collins says she shares "the legitimate concerns that the anti-piracy legislation, as currently drafted, needs significant revision. 

Rep. Mike Michaud, D-2nd District, said in a statement that he agrees “that we need to crack down on websites in places like China that infringe U.S. copyrights and hurt our businesses. But it must be done in a way that doesn’t shutdown legitimate websites, violate people’s rights and censor the internet.”

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said through a spokesman that she too would be a no vote on the Senate bill in its current form.

While Snowe has worked to combat online piracy and protect intellectual property rights, she also wants to protect openness and access on the internet, said Chris Averill, Snowe’s spokesman.

“As Senator Snowe reviews this wide-ranging legislation she has concerns that we cannot have a federal over-reach of authority that would hamper innovation or compromise the inherent openness and freedom that are part and parcel of the Internet,” Averill said.

About this Blog

Subscribe to the
Maine on the Hill RSS

About the Author

Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or kmiller@mainetoday.com

Subscribe to the
Maine on the Hill RSS

Previous entries

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

More

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)
Prefer to respond privately? Email us here.

Most…