SOPA Gets Watered Down, But Not Enough for Critics

SOPA sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) seems to be getting some of the criticism that has fallen on his "rogue websites" bill. The Texas Congressmen has introduced several amendments to the bill that soften some of the more draconian measures it contained, and offers a clarification that web sites using U.S. domains wouldn't be subject to the law. Still, opponents of SOPA see these steps as not enough, and with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) offering an alternative it's still a hard sell to anyone that cares about online rights. A hearing on SOPA is scheduled before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. That committee is chaired by Smith.

Under Smith's amended bill, a judge would now have to order ad networks to stop doing business with a site deemed "dedicated" to various infringing activities. The original bill gave power directly to rights holders, who could make those demands on an ad network or payment processor. The amendment still gives legal immunity to financial institutions and ad networks that choose cooperate and boycott "rogue" sites.

"That is pretty big," Sherwin Siy, a staff attorney with digital-rights group Public Knowledge tells Ars Technica.

Lamar’s amendments also clarify that sites ending in .com, .org, and .net are not covered by the bill. Only foreign sites fall under SOPA’s wrath. Smith's amendment also still gives the Justice Department the power to demand that Internet Service Providers block their customers from visiting infringing sites, but it won't require ISPs to alter DNS records. While they wouldn't be required to use that tactic, they would be forced into using some sort of method to keep users from visiting sites deemed as "rogue sites." Unfortunately the bill still doesn't define just what a rogue site is.

Source: Ars Technica

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. 0
    DorthLous says:

    Yes, see, that's the thing… USA is growing more and more into the classical villain part… If the US citizens are unable to bring their government in line, at some point, it will cross the line and basically trigger the ire of most countries on Earth. And I'm saying this as a Canadian, probably one of the country that will stand as the USA ally until no one else is…

  2. 0
    Yammo says:

    THIS, is why the bill was born…

    A new world is being born as we speak.
    A world where regions are no more.
    A world where the artists paid MORE.
    A world where DRM is not needed.
    A world where customers pay less and get MORE.

    Publishers are being reduced to nothing more than "Money-lenders".
    …of course they will fight tooth and nail to suppress the internet!


  3. 0
    elvesrus says:

    I've got two questions about this.

    1. How can the US dictate policy on things outside the US?

    2. Why bother with the restrictions when things like The Pirate Bay are .org?

  4. 0
    Craig R. says:

    "1. How can the US dictate policy on things outside the US?"

    Because the US thinks it's judge, jury, and executioner for the world.

    And if you don't believe that is truly the case, just read what's in the National Defense Authorization Act that Congress may be voting on any moment now, and Obama is likely to sign.

  5. 0
    RedMage says:

    My theory is that SOPA was intended to be incredibly extreme so that any perceived watered down language would be viewed as a 'victory' compromise by the inevitable opposition.  Otherwise Smith would have to be incredibly naive and stupid to not believe this would draw heavy opposition (which I won't rule out altogether).

    It's actually a pretty common ploy in politics.  Introduce something outrageous, then scale it back to what you originally wanted.  Thankfully nobody seems to be buying Smith's crap.

  6. 0
    Craig R. says:

    Or you could, you know, withdraw the bill altogether, and start over from scratch with something that wasn't written to prop up a handful of major corporations.

  7. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    And what is (for my money anyway) the largest problem of all is still there: the ability to take down sites that are merely alleged to have infringed copyright.


    Andrew Eisen

Leave a Reply