Thanks very much for your reply. I would like to add a few thoughts to my previous letter.
As an independent musician, I share your concerns regarding the pirating of copyrighted works. The practice has become so commonplace that fans have told me to my face that they had shared my music with their friends. This cuts into my profit margins considerably, especially since my works are largely self-produced.
However, I strongly feel that attempting to control the internet is not the solution to this problem. Independent producers such as myself have become famous because of the internet, and I can't help but suspect that the reason so many large companies are backing this bill is because they're tired of losing their business to independent artist like myself. We have become tired of a broken system where talent and quality doesn't matter as much as having the right "look" or being connected to the right people, and so we've created a community of our own where our art can be shared at our discretion. I can't help but feeling that companies like Sony and Time Warner are resentful of the internet, because they now must try to catch up the proverbial bus that many of us have been on for a decade or more.
Controlling the internet will not make thieves into honest people, it will only make them more creative, or perhaps even more violent in how they steal. There will always be people who think it's okay to take what isn't theirs, and passing a law that limits one avenue will not change that. The only thing it will serve to do is hurt small businesses, and independent artists and musicians. If those people are not able to make the money they currently make through internet sales, we will see a rise in unemployment, a downturn in economic growth, and potentially an increase in civil unrest.
Congresswoman, I know that there are many people writing to you today, and I am one voice among many. Perhaps it will not be my words, but our numbers that move you. Perhaps you will see that the only people who want to limit the internet are people who want to limit the information available to only what they think is relevant. Or perhaps these measure will pass, and we will see a new kind of militarized state emerge. You and your fellows are in the unique position of creating history today, and I hope you make choices with the future in mind.
Thank you for your time today, Congresswoman Richardson, and Happy New Year.