Wednesday, January 18, 2012


My letter to our NC state Senators based on the PROTECT IP Act:

Senator Burr and Hagan,

As a technology professional who works at IBM in North Carolina I appreciate the importance of intellectual property. In fact, in 2011 I filed the most patent applications in IBM in the state of North Carolina and as you may know, IBM leads the US and world in patents issued every year for the past 19 years. I do not write this representing IBM however but instead representing myself as your constituent. So let me share my thoughts with you which do not represent my company.

Protecting intellectual property is a large concern of mine. I want to be able to innovate freely and protect those innovations which are difficult discover. I was very interested to read the PROTECT IP Act but once I did, I was appalled. The full text of what I read was from Senator Leahy's website here:

While it is important to protect intellectual property, it is not worth opening the door to censorship this great. It is my understanding that the text in this bill will allow those with the most lawyers and deepest pockets to potentially demand that free speech be censored from the American people. This Act alone is not worth the worldwide damage it could cause to the cause of freedom of speech. In fact, there is no intellectual property that is worth the loss of freedom of speech.

Furthermore, in a worldwide economy, censorship in the United States of the Internet alone will do little to stop the bleeding of our intellectual property into products and services abroad. Foreigners may still freely access and share another's intellectual property regardless of whether the US people can see it. It has more potential to hinder US innovation due to less information being available and more legal troubles being possible within the US. For example, individuals and institutions overseas may choose to stop publishing materials such as research papers to sites available within the US because of legal fears.

As your constituent, I urge you to oppose the PROTECT IP Act. These bills will risk censoring the American Internet, ultimately stifle innovation, and provide a way for limiting freedom of speech worldwide.

Erik Burckart

Read more about this issue at these places:
Google's site about the issue
Stop American Censorship
Fight for the Future