Stop H.R. 3028 - Protect the Net - Stop the Trademark Monopolists
This bill fits a pattern: every time Congress wants to create a new monopoly covering some activity formerly open to all, or extend and increase an old monopoly, they apply the term “piracy” to the free activity that the monopoly will stamp out. So whenever you see anything described as “piracy” aside from the capturing of ships, watch out for your liberties! -- Richard Stallman
The House of Representatives is about to vote on legislation that would grant sweeping new powers for trademark holders and undermine the rights of domain name holders, Internet users, and small businesses. H.R. 3028 “The Trademark Cyberpiracy Prevention Act of 1999” will also establish unprecedented ability for trademark holders to sue Internet users all around the world. And H.R. 32028 will undermine a fair and carefully crafted international consensus on the resolution of Internet name disputes. It's a bad bill and it should be stopped.
The House of Representatives may vote on H.R. 3028 as early as Tuesday, October 26, 1999.
You Need To Act
There is a chance to stop HR 3028. It has very few sponsors and has moved quietly through Congress, mostly under the radar of organizations and businesses that have worked to promote the growth of the Internet. Also, Congress will soon break for Thanksgiving.
But you have to act!
What You Can Do
It is vitally important for you to contact your Representative in Congress and explain politely but firmly that you hope that your Representative will VOTE AGAINST H.R. 3028.
Here is a quick guide to Calling Your Congressman.
- Call the Capitol Hill Switchboard (202-224-3121) and ask to speak to your Congressman. (Don't know who your Congressman is? Ok, go here [archived]).
- When you reach the office say to the person who answers
“Hello, I'm a registered voter in the district of Congressman <name>. I'm calling because I hope he/she will vote against H.R. 3028, ‘The Cyberpiracy Act’. I don't like cyberpirates, but I believe this bill will hurt ALL domain name holders on the Internet, including small businesses, noncommercial organizations and individuals. Will you please tell the Congressman that I asked him/her to vote against H.R. 3028? Thanks.”
Here are all the things you just did in 30 seconds:
- You made clear that you're a voter in the Congressman's District (they'll listen to you!)
- You said clearly that you are against a bill and you gave the bill number and the title of the bill (it's important to give both!)
- You gave the Congressman a good reason to vote against H.R. 3028 (Members of Congress like good reasons for votes)
- You asked for a commitment to convey your position to the Congressman (you want to be taken seriously)
- You were polite (always a plus)
- If you leave your name and address, that will make your call even more effective (you might even get a letter)
- If you like, you can also send an email to your Representative with a new service offered at the House web site — check here [archived].
- If you're still energized to do something, ask a friend or neighbor who also lives in your district to make the same call. You can also call the office of the Chairman of the Rules Committee Congressman David Dreier and tell his staffperson that you oppose H.R. 3028 and hope that Mr. Dreier will put off a vote on the bill until the problems are fixed.
- If you want to learn more about the problems with H.R. 3028, look at the excellent letter from computer users and legal experts. Also, visit Thomas and check out the bill and the history.