Unemployment and the lagging economy continue to be the top issue for the majority of American voters, but that does not mean that other issues are not important too. In fact, intellectual property laws are inherently economic, so where the 2012 Presidential candidates stand on intellectual property laws and other Internet-related issues is an important issue as well.
This page acts as a guide to the stances of the candidates for the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the Libertarian Party, and the Green Party, as well as other minor party candidates. The four candidates listed below are in alphabetical order, and their order should not be read as an endorsement or lack thereof for any particular candidate(s).
Gary Johnson – Libertarian Party
Gary Johnson is the 2012 Libertarian nominee for President of the United States. He served for two terms of Governor of New Mexico, from 1995 to 2003. Prior to becoming the Libertarian Party nominee, he unsuccessfully campaigned for the Republican Party nomination before dropping out of the race and changing his party affiliation to Libertarian.
James “Jim” P. Gray is a California judge and the 2012 Libertarian nominee for Vice-President of the United States. He was previously the Libertarian nominee for Senator of California in 2004. From 1983 to 1989, he was Municipal Court Judge in Santa Ana, California. From 1989 to 2009, he served as the Superior Court Judge of Orange County
Mitt Romney – Republican Party
Mitt Romney is the presumptive 2012 Republican nominee for President of the United States. He served for one term as Governor of Massachusetts and had a long career in the private sector, primarily as CEO of Bain Capital. He was also the President and CEO of the Salt Like Organizing Committee overseeing the 2002 Winter Olympics. Romney previously ran for the Republican nomination in 2008, but lost to Senator John McCain.
During a Republican primary debate in January 2012, Romney indicated he was opposed to SOPA in its then-current form. He stated that the law was “far too intrusive, far too expansive, far too threatening to freedom of speech and movement of information across the Internet.” He also indicated that he believed it could have a “depressing impact on one of the fastest growing industries of America, which is the Internet and all those industries connected to it.”
Paul Ryan is a member of the United States House of Representatives, where he has represented Wisconsin's 1st congressional district since 1999 and where he serves as the Chairman of the House Budget Committee. He is also the presumptive 2012 Republican nominee for Vice-President of the United States.
On January 9, 2012, Ryan announced his opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act. He stated his belief that while intellectual property on the Internet was a legitimate issue, the Internet would be subjected to “regulation, censorship and legal abuse,” and that it would set a precedent for that to continue. He indicated that if SOPA had come before the House for a full vote, he would have voted against it.
Barack Obama – Democratic Party
Barack Obama is the President of the United States and the presumptive 2012 Democratic nominee for a second term in the White House. He previously served as the junior Senator of Illinois from 2005 to 2008, when he resigned following his election as President. He previously served as a member of the Illinois State Senate and a community organizer in Chicago, and he has worked as a lawyer and a professor of Constitutional law.
President Obama was opposed to SOPA, as well as the PROTECT IP Act. The White House stated it would not support anti-piracy legislation that would "inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small."
Joe Biden is the Vice-President of the United States and the presumptive 2012 Democratic nominee for a second term as Vice-President. He previously had a long career in the United States Senate as a Senator of Delaware, during which time he served as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Prior to public life, he was a lawyer in Delaware.
Jill Stein – Green Party
Jill Stein is the 2012 Green Party nominee for President of the United States. She was previously a candidate for Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, when one of her opponents was Mitt Romney, and 2010. She has also run for the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 2004 and Massachusetts Secretary of State in 2006, and she was successfully elected to be a Town of Lexington Meeting Representative in 2005 and 2008. Her profession by trade is a physician.
Cheri Honkala is the 2012 Green Party nominee for Vice-President of the United States. She previously ran for Sheriff of Philadelphia in 2011 and is a noted human rights activist. She is currently the co-founder and National Coordinate of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign.