Lamar Smith

The Return of SOPA

SOPA

You’d think Congress would learn its lesson. After much of the nation revolted in protest this year, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was killed in the House, as was its counterpart (PIPA) in the Senate. Americans don’t want government regulating and policing the Internet. Beyond that, the bill was bad for technology.

SOPA got pulled. We won. We sent a clear message that Congress should keep its grubby paws off the Internet. Victory is sweet!

But now it’s happening again.

Lamar Smith, the stubborn Republican from Texas is pushing his Intellectual Property (IP) legislation back into the forefront, and it seems that his latest effort, the Intellectual Property Attache Act, is on the fast track to be rushed through Congress before the public really understand what’s going on.

TechDirt reported yesterday about how the IP attaches that would be created would be for pushing maximalist policy globally:

Their role is not to support more effective or more reasonable IP policy. It is solely to increase expansion, and basically act as Hollywood’s personal thugs pressuring other countries to do the will of the major studios and labels. The role is literally defined as pushing for “aggressive support for enforcement action” throughout the world.

SOPA author not done with the internet

After the unprecedented protests throughout the internet, one might think that Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) would figure out that perhaps folks take the internet pretty seriously.  One might think that…but they would apparently be wrong.

Another day, another threat to internet freedom. According to International Business Times, beloved Texas Representative Lamar Smith is the author of a new bill that includes extreme surveillance provisions, and a name that will make opponents sound like criminals: H.R. 1981 (bump that last digit up three times for a more fitting title), or the ‘Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011.’

The new name has outraged many opponents of SOPA and other bills that could bring more government control to the internet, like PIPA and ACTA. It’s hard to imagine the whole world turning out against a bill with the words ‘protect’ and ‘children’ in the title, regardless of the actual contents of the bill.

In the words of Business Insider’s David Seaman, it’s “just a B.S. name so that politicians in the House and Senate are strong-armed into voting for it, even though it contains utterly insane 1984-style Big Brother surveillance provisions.” Ouch.

SOPA/PIPA opponents score a victory

While former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and other supporters of SOPA and PIPA have lashed out at companies and websites that participated in yesterday’s “blackout,” it certainly seems as though opponents of the two bills carried the day:

Members of the Senate are rushing for the exits in the wake of the Internet’s unprecedented protest of the Protect IP Act (PIPA). At least 13 members of the upper chamber announced their opposition on Wednesday. In a particularly severe blow from Hollywood, at least five of the newly-opposed Senators were previously sponsors of the Protect IP Act.

The newly-opposed Senators are skewed strongly to the Republican side of the aisle. An Ars Technica survey of Senators’ positions on PIPA turned up only two Democrats, Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who announced their opposition on Wednesday. The other 11 Senators who announced their opposition on Wednesday were all Republicans. These 13 join a handful of others, including Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), who have already announced their opposition.

Marco Rubio, a freshman Republican Senator from Florida who some consider to be a rising star, withdrew his sponsorship of the bill, citing “legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government’s power to impact the Internet.” He urged the Senate to “avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences.”

PIPA, SOPA, JOHNNY DEPP and LAMAR SMITH

Cronies are attempting a last-ditch bailout for a failing industry.

Lamar Smith's HairI saw Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movie. It was good, but I don’t think I would see it again. The problem is there are apparently government officials out there who have seen the film and believe that it’s real. Except instead of seeing Orlando Bloom swoop down from a chandelier in order to save his, would be, girlfriend from vengeful and evil ghost pirates, they see anyone who has ever used the Internet as one knot-tying lesson away from loading up every last ship in the kings navy with any and all privately licensed media and heading straight for Tortuga.

Lamar Smith (pictured right), creator of SOPA (now PIPA) believes this in the deepest part of his heart. He is scared of Geoffrey Rush, and ipso facto he is scared of you. Him and people like him believe that the free dissemination of information makes everybody criminals. They want to put the genie back in the bottle, as it were, and given the chance they would probably be perfectly happy to see us crawling around on all fours and hanging from trees with our tales so long as we pay the going rate for DVDs; not that monkeys behave that way, or that folks like Smith likely believe in evolution.

If you take the time to calm down and ask the supporters of the PIPA doctrine about their motivation for their support of the whole mess, they will argue that media corporations and producers need to be protected against folks who steal from them and that the way to enforce this protection is not to change the way that media is provided but rather snap the lid shut on forward thinking technologies — which is, of course, total bullshit, but it’s their story and they are sticking to it.

Drop the SOPA: Protect the Internet from censorship

I’m kind of a rare breed of libertarian.  I actually believe in the concept of intellectual property.  As such, some might be under the belief that folks like me would be in favor of something like the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.

Of course, they would be horribly, horribly wrong.

Regardless of ones feelings on IP, the reality is that SOPA is nothing less than a NDAA or PATRIOT Act for the internet.

You see, the internet is the last bastion of freedom anywhere in the world.  While it’s entirely possible to render something illegal in one country, it’s virtually impossible to stamp it out.  Laws and regulations become meaningless as physical borders mean nothing on a cyberscape free from such lines.

The kick in the butt with this bill, as with many similar bills, is that it really won’t do a whole heck of a lot to combat piracy.  Of course, there are some that will argue that what SOPA seeks to do is crush that freedom. That ideas breed in such freedom, and such ideas can not be allowed to incubate.

I don’t know if I would go that far, but what is clear is that SOPA is nothing more than a powergrab.  Those that are supposed to support and defend the Constitution have instead decided to just ignore the document completely.

SOPA seeks to require your ISP to spy on you.  It seeks to hurt companies like Mozilla that haven’t done what the powerful want it to do.  It seeks to rewrite the current laws regarding the internet and remake it into a place where innovation no longer happens.

Now, SOPA may not be all bad.  After all, plenty of companies will love to open up their nations to the off-shore dollars that are bound to flee the United States after a SOPA-like bill is passed.  While I’m not an opponent of out sourcing per se, I’d prefer it not to be encouraged through idiotic legislation.

SOPA must be shot down by Congress

On the heels of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which effectively shredded the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment and Habeas Corpus, Congress will likely take up the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) at some point early next year.

For those of you that haven’t followed SOPA, Tina Korbe at Hot Air offers a very good introduction to the legislation:

Introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) and co-sponsored by representatives from both parties (the bill has a total of 31 co-sponsors!), the Stop Online Piracy Act purports to stop “foreign online criminals from stealing and selling America’s intellectual property and keeping the profits for themselves.”

According to Rep. Smith’s website, “IP theft costs the U.S. economy more than $100 billion annually and results in the loss of thousands of American jobs. The Stop Online Piracy Act specifically targets foreign websites primarily dedicated to illegal activity or foreign websites that market themselves as such. The bill ensures that profits from America’s innovations go to American innovators.”

That sounds relatively harmless, but there has been a lot of concern among tech-advocates that SOPA would would lead to censorship and deter innovation on the Internet.

Korbe continues:

Your Internet privacy could be in jeopardy

The Atlantic is reporting on a bill working its way through Congress that could potentially be disastrous for civil liberties and privacy on the Internet.  The innocuously-named bill, the “Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011” requires that all ISPs maintain 12-month records of literally every element of your Internet activity.  To obtain this info, all police have to do is ask for it - even for other crimes entirely unrelated to child porn.

This is the kind of nice-sounding, yet massively over-broad law that creates far more problems that it intends to solve.  And yet it’s hardly surprising that the government is making a power grab under the banner of “protecting children”.  That’s right up there with “helping poor people” and “stopping terrorism” in the list of excuses the state has used as a cover for invading our rights.

Clearly, this bill cannot become law.  Anything we can do to alert people to it would certainly go a long way to shedding a light on this very problematic legistation.

Thanks go to Jayvie Canono (@OneFineJay) on Twitter for pointing me to this.

Copyrights don’t matter to Lamar Smith

While looking through Twitter last night, I came across this ironic image from Andrew Bloch. It would seem that, despite trying to push the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) through, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) isn’t all that concerned with copyright protection; and, by his own standard, his campaign website should be removed from Internet:

Lamar Smith

Drop the SOPA: Protect the Internet from censorship

In keeping with the goal to educate readers about the dangers of SOPA and PIPA, here is a piece by Tom Knighton, originally posted on December 20, 2011.

I’m kind of a rare breed of libertarian. I actually believe in the concept of intellectual property. As such, some might be under the belief that folks like me would be in favor of something like the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.

Of course, they would be horribly, horribly wrong.

Regardless of ones feelings on IP, the reality is that SOPA is nothing less than a NDAA or PATRIOT Act for the internet.

You see, the internet is the last bastion of freedom anywhere in the world. While it’s entirely possible to render something illegal in one country, it’s virtually impossible to stamp it out. Laws and regulations become meaningless as physical borders mean nothing on a cyberscape free from such lines.

The kick in the butt with this bill, as with many similar bills, is that it really won’t do a whole heck of a lot to combat piracy. Of course, there are some that will argue that what SOPA seeks to do is crush that freedom. That ideas breed in such freedom, and such ideas can not be allowed to incubate.

I don’t know if I would go that far, but what is clear is that SOPA is nothing more than a powergrab. Those that are supposed to support and defend the Constitution have instead decided to just ignore the document completely.

SOPA seeks to require your ISP to spy on you. It seeks to hurt companies like Mozilla that haven’t done what the powerful want it to do. It seeks to rewrite the current laws regarding the internet and remake it into a place where innovation no longer happens.

SOPA must be shot down by Congress

In keeping with the goal to educate readers about the dangers of SOPA and PIPA, here is a piece by Jason Pye, originally posted by  on December 20, 2011.

On the heels of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which effectively shredded the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment and Habeas Corpus, Congress will likely take up the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) at some point early next year.

For those of you that haven’t followed SOPA, Tina Korbe at Hot Air offers a very good introduction to the legislation:

Introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) and co-sponsored by representatives from both parties (the bill has a total of 31 co-sponsors!), the Stop Online Piracy Act purports to stop “foreign online criminals from stealing and selling America’s intellectual property and keeping the profits for themselves.”

According to Rep. Smith’s website, “IP theft costs the U.S. economy more than $100 billion annually and results in the loss of thousands of American jobs. The Stop Online Piracy Act specifically targets foreign websites primarily dedicated to illegal activity or foreign websites that market themselves as such. The bill ensures that profits from America’s innovations go to American innovators.”

That sounds relatively harmless, but there has been a lot of concern among tech-advocates that SOPA would would lead to censorship and deter innovation on the Internet.

Korbe continues:


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