SOPA Doesn't Censor Internet, Says Rep. Lamar Smith

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that some members of Congress had switched sides to oppose the anti-piracy legislation. The news arrived while "protests blanketed the Internet" as websites visually displayed their stance against SOPA and PIPA whether it was a simple link to anti-SOPA material, or a complete website blackout. Even one game developer launched a non-profit organization to protest against the ESA which in turn supports the legislation instead of the wishes of the enlisted "artists" and "content providers" it supposedly protects.

All the while, several sponsors of the legislation, including Senators Roy Blunt, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch and John Boozman and Marco Rubio, announced their withdrawal of support for the legislation. Reports indicated that their sudden turn was due to pressure stemming from critics of the bill. But some of them openly blamed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for rushing the Senate version of the bill (PIPA, or the Protect IP Act). Blunt said the legislation is "deeply flawed," while both Rubio and Boozman cited "unintended consequences" that could stem from the proposed law. Still, all those that formerly opposed the legislation said they still supported taking action against online piracy.

After reports surfaced about the rejection, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued a statement in response, acknowledging that many people may be nervous due to the "misinformation" about the bill, but pronounced his own confidence in the facts which will overcome their fears. Eventually he states that the legislation -- SOPA in particular -- will not censor the Internet despite reports.

"Contrary to critics’ claims, SOPA does not censor the Internet," he states. "It only targets activity that is already illegal, and only targets foreign websites that steal and sell America’s technology, inventions and products. And it is similar to laws that already govern websites based in the U.S."

"I am open to constructive suggestions that protect American inventors and intellectual property rights holders," he continues. "Unfortunately, some critics simply want to maintain the status quo which harms U.S. companies, consumers and innovators.  Illegal piracy and counterfeiting cost the U.S. economy $100 billion and thousands of jobs every year. Congress cannot stand by and do nothing while some of America’s most profitable and productive industries are under attack."

"We need strong and effective legislation to protect American technology and put foreign thieves out of business," he concludes. "I will continue to work to address legitimate concerns and encourage members and stakeholders to provide substantive recommendations for how best to address the problem of online theft."

Chairman Smith said that Congress will continue to work with members, outside organizations and stakeholders to reach consensus and produce "strong legislation that protects both intellectual property and technology."

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  • drwho1
    "Congress cannot stand by and do nothing while some of America’s most profitable and productive industries are under attack."

    that line says it all.

    We know the companies that are on your pocket, you and everyone on those seats are not there to work for those companies, you are there to work for the USA, you are there to protect OUR rights, not the Billions of a few.
    29
  • Kaiser_25
    How about add some due process to the bill not sweeping authority to shutdonw/blacklist websites at a companies request with no recourse..
    28
  • g-thor
    Here's a little test. If, as the Senator claims,
    Quote:
    Illegal piracy and counterfeiting cost the U.S. economy $100 billion and thousands of jobs every year.
    , then set the law to expire in one year unless it gets renewed. It can only be renewed if there is a surge in the US economy equal to, say, 75% of the claimed loss from the industries claiming to lose that much - a performance based evaluation. If the economy doesn't recover the losses, the law dies and the Congressman leaves politics permanently. He can't even run for dog catcher. Seems fair.

    Oh, but it's not that simple, he'll say. The economy depends on so many variables. Then maybe that $100 Billion figure is wrong - or inflated to produce FUD.

    Plus, how many little riders are going to get added to the tail of this one? The reality today is that the bills and laws get so much added to them that Congressmen couldn't read all of it if that's all they did. That, on top of seriously flawed legislation, is a killer.
    25
  • Other Comments
  • Kaiser_25
    How about add some due process to the bill not sweeping authority to shutdonw/blacklist websites at a companies request with no recourse..
    28
  • Anonymous
    Finally a voice of reason.


    Not.
    16
  • rawful
    SOPA/PIPA won't censor or limit the internet in the same way that the NDAA will not affect American citizens, which is: unless they want it to.
    21