Cantwell co-sponsors alternative to PIPA

By:  Stevie Mathieu
Source: The Columbian

Google, Wikipedia and other high-profile websites blacked out all or parts of their pages Wednesday, and Washingtonians flooded their Congressional delegates with requests to fight two pieces of legislation to crack down on Internet piracy.

So far, only one of the three women representing Southwest Washington has taken a stance on the issue.

Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell has come out against the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). She has co-sponsored an alternative piece of legislation called the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade — or OPEN — Act. Cantwell said her proposal is a narrower approach to fighting online piracy sites while addressing the concerns of protesters against PIPA and the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Democrat U.S. Sen. Patty Murray’s office told the Pacific Northwest Inlander that she has received pressure to support PIPA but that she remains undecided on the issue.

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, did not provide a firm answer when asked about SOPA on Monday during an interview at The Columbian. She said she would need to do more research on the bill, but added that she has concerns about what it could mean for consumers and free enterprise.

U.S. senators are expected to vote on PIPA this month, and at least two senators who initially supported the proposal have come out against it.

On Twitter, many users posted tweets similar to this one: “I just contacted Sen. Patty Murray to oppose #SOPA/#PIPA - Join me!”

One Twitter user linked to the response letter he received from Cantwell’s office.

“On Nov. 17, 2011, I signed a letter along with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) objecting to (PIPA) as it is currently written,” the letter said. “I am deeply concerned that the definitions and the means by which the legislation seeks to accomplish these goals will have unintended consequences and hurt innovation, job creation, and threaten online speech and security.”