Please send a fax to your member of the House Wednesday morning indicating yours and ALA's opposition to DOPA (HR 5319). Below is a sample message that you can use or adapt for the fax.
To find out who your Representative in the House is & what their fax # is, go here:
July 26, 2006
RE: Opposition to H.R. 5319, the Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA)
I write to indicate my opposition to H.R. 5319, the Deleting
Online Predators Act (DOPA). I understand this bill may come to the
House floor this afternoon and ask that you oppose this bill as it
No profession or community is more concerned about the safety of
children than our Nation's librarians. Librarians in public libraries
and school library media centers work continuously to assure that
children have appropriate and safe access to the materials and
information services they need so that each each young person can become
literate and educated with the skills and knowledge to succeed in the
digital and online world.
I had hoped following the July 11th hearing on H.R. 5319 before the
Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the
Internet, that an amended version would seek to resolve some of the
problems expressed in ALA's testimony. Unfortunately, the revised
language that ALA received only last night, does not make the necessary
changes that I believe would better serve the public interest and
contribute to true online safety for young people. As a voter in your district, I
urge opposition to H.R. 5319 for several reasons:
1. The terminology used in DOPA is still overly broad and unclear. As
written, this legislation would block access to many valuable websites
that utilize this type of communication, websites whose benefits
outweigh their detriments.
2. DOPA still ignores the value of Interactive Web applications. New
Internet-based applications for collaboration, business and learning are
becoming increasingly important, and young people must be prepared to
thrive in a work atmosphere where meetings take place online, where
online networks are essential communication tools.
3. Education, not laws blocking access, is the key to safe use of the
Internet. Libraries and schools are where kids learn essential
information literacy skills that go far beyond computer instruction and
web searching. Indeed, DOPA would block usuage of these sites in the
very environments where librarians and teachers can instruct students
about how to use all kinds of applications safely and effectively and
where kids can learn how to report and avoid unsafe sites.
4. Local decision-making - not federal law - is the way to solve the
problems addressed by DOPA. Such decisions are already being made
locally, in part due to the requirements of the Children's Online
Protection Act (CIPA) for E-rate recipients. This additional
requirement is not necessary.
5. DOPA would restrict access to technology in the communities that need
public access most. H.R. 5319 still, as presently drafted, would
require libraries and schools receiving E-rate discounts through the
Universal Service Program to block computer users from accessing
Interactive Web applications of all kinds, thereby limiting
opportunities for those who do not have Internet access at home. This
unfairly denies the students and library users in schools and libraries
in the poorest communities from accessing appropriate content and from
learning how best to safely manage their own Internet access in
consultation with librarians and teachers.
It should also be noted that key witnesses at the July 11th hearing,
testified that limiting access to social networking sites in E-rate
schools and libraries will have little impact on the overall problem
since young people access these collaborative sites from many locations
and over a period of time.
Thank you for your consideration.
(put your name here)
-Posted by Beth Yoke