SOPA Sponsor Fires Back at Critics

December 14, 2011 -

House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) fired back strongly at critics of SOPA Wednesday, accusing various tech companies and their executives of not understanding the bill. He made a point of singling out Google for its opposition, calling it "self-serving."

"Companies like Google have made billions by working with and promoting foreign rogue websites so they have a vested interest in preventing Congress from stopping rogue websites," Smith said. "Lawful companies and websites like Google, Twitter, Yahoo and Facebook have nothing to worry about this bill," he added.

Smith’s response came after an ad that Google’s Sergey Brin, Twitter co-founders Biz Stone, Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark launched Wednesday strongly criticizing the legislation. The ad featured an open letter to Congress and was set to run in The New York Times, The Washington Post and other publications. The ad says that Smith’s bill and the companion legislation in the Senate, the PROTECT IP Act by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), would chill innovations online, "deny website owners the right to due process” and hand “the U.S. government the power to censor the Web using techniques similar to those used by China, Malaysia and Iran."

They also said the bills would "undermine security online by changing the basic structure of the Internet."

Smith called the ad "nonsense," adding that amendments he unveiled this week addressed the major criticisms of SOPA.

The revision “narrows the scope of the bill to ensure that it only applies to foreign rogue websites,” Smith said. He also said that the amendments clarify the definition of rogue sites "as foreign websites primarily dedicated to the sale and distribution of illegal or infringing material or foreign websites that market themselves as websites primarily dedicated to illegal or infringing activity."

Smith also said critics have ignored his attempts to address the issues they have with the bill and accused them of "spreading lies about the legislation in an attempt to stall efforts by Congress to combat foreign rogue websites."

But his harshest criticism was for Google:

"In August, Google paid half a billion dollars to settle a criminal case because of the search engine giant’s active promotion of foreign rogue pharmacies that sold counterfeit and illegal drugs to U.S. patients," Smith said. "Their opposition to this legislation is self-serving since they profit from doing business with rogue sites that steal and sell America’s intellectual property."

Google didn't take Smith's comments lying down:

"We fight pirates and counterfeiters everyday and we believe, like many other tech companies, that the best way to stop them is through targeted legislation that would require ad networks and payment processors — like ours — to cut off sites dedicated to piracy or counterfeiting," Google said.

Google added that the changes Smith made to his bill to address critics didn't "clear up the tech industries’ concerns" that the measure would encourage government censorship on the Web and deprive site owners accused of hosting illegal content of due process.

Source: Politico


Comments

Re: SOPA Sponsor Fires Back at Critics

So, what is he saying, that only pirates and piracy enablers are against it?

Re: SOPA Sponsor Fires Back at Critics

"Companies like Google have made billions by working with and promoting foreign rogue websites so they have a vested interest in preventing Congress from stopping rogue websites," Smith said. "Lawful companies and websites like Google, Twitter, Yahoo and Facebook have nothing to worry about this bill," he added.

 

Read the first and last sentences.. if this is the real quote, it makes my brain hurt.

What he is saying that Google has a vested interest (re: monetary and harmful if the law is passed) while Lawful companies like Google have nothing to worry about?.

Please someone correct me if I'm reading this wrong.

High Tech Redneck

Re: SOPA Sponsor Fires Back at Critics

You're reading it wrong. Hit yourself in the head with a hammer about 50 or 60 times and then you'll be as stupid as your average politican and it'll make perfect sense.

How exactly is Yahoo legal when Google isn't? You can search for pirate websites on Yahoo too. Hell, you can post links to them on Twitter and Facebook. Or is this more along the lines of well these companies paid us to look the other way while Google isn't paying up so they're evil. You know the true nature of politics.

Re: SOPA Sponsor Fires Back at Critics

Because Yahoo paid him more money to word it that way.

Re: SOPA Sponsor Fires Back at Critics

Seriously, I know I'm mostly preaching to the choir here on GP, but USA, can you please start taking care of your own country and LEAVE US ALONE! You have NO authority on us and it'd be nice for you to acknowledge this... (Again, this is targeted to those that believe that somehow USA have a "right" to govern or interfere in self-governing nation...)

Re: SOPA Sponsor Fires Back at Critics

Clueless, out of touch congressman sponsoring a bill written for him by an industry lobby, accuses the people who actually know a thing or two about computers and IP, of not understanding the bill.

Priceless.

Re: SOPA Sponsor Fires Back at Critics

Yeah. And yes, Google doesn't have anything to worry about. They're trying to protect US who DO have a lot to worry about! So you tell me who's "self-serving"!

Re: SOPA Sponsor Fires Back at Critics

When in doubt, attack the messenger, eh?

Re: SOPA Sponsor Fires Back at Critics

I am still amused that 'but we will only do it to foreigners!' is supposed to 'address concerns'...

Re: SOPA Sponsor Fires Back at Critics

Translation: I'm full of shit, but no one is falling for it, and that pisses me off.

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