Madison Ruppert, Contributing Writer
The chief cosponsor of SOPA, and anti-Internet freedom crusader, Representative Lamar Smith, announced that he is pulling the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
Smith, a Republican hailing from Texas, said that he is killing the bill “until there is wider agreement on a solution,” which likely means until the lobbyists write another bill for them.
Smith’s radical change of position comes just days after he told the Wall Street Journal that he was not going to back down on SOPA, saying that he was planning to “move forward” with the legislation next month.
SOPA was one of the most blatant examples of the absurdity of our corrupt legislative process with Go Daddy openly bragging about playing a major role in the crafting of the legislation.
“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy,” Smith said in the typically ambiguous fashion politicians know and love.
“It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products,” he said.
However, I believe what Smith really means is that they need to revisit the approach on how best to dupe the American people into supporting increased government control over the Internet and open censorship.
If nothing else, it is clear that this type of legislation is not going to die with SOPA or PIPA.
In a statement released today Smith said that “Congress cannot stand by and do nothing while American innovators and job creators are under attack.”
In the same statement Smith claims that “more than $100 billion annually” is lost to piracy and thus “results in the loss of thousands of American jobs.”
However, like most of our so-called representatives, Smith fails to cite any sources or concrete evidence, instead opting for grandiose numbers which garner an instant reaction from Americans.
Smith goes on to promulgate the laughable parallel between online piracy and physical property theft.
Sorry Smith, but watching a music video on YouTube someone uploaded without permission is not even remotely comparable to walking into a store and stealing merchandise.
How people can logically accept such an assertion is beyond me. No, watching a documentary on YouTube that a random person without the rights to the material uploaded is not in any way similar to walking into a store and pocketing a DVD.
“The Committee will continue work with copyright owners, Internet companies, [and] financial institutions to develop proposals that combat online piracy and protect America’s intellectual property,” Smith continued.
At least they’re open about the fact that this legislation is not being drafted with the American people and Internet users in mind, but instead with the behemoth corporations who control most of what goes on in Washington.
As a copyright holder, I would love to take part in Committee meetings and be able to represent the point of view of many intellectual property owners who do not think that draconian legislation which could easily be used to censor and stifle free speech.
However, such a thing would never happen because when Smith says, “We welcome input from all organizations and individuals who have an honest difference of opinion about how best to address the widespread problem,” he really means the class of organization and individual that has the financial clout required to have one’s voice heard in Washington.
Only by banding together en masse can the average American’s voice be heard, as we have seen with the blackout in protest of SOPA and the response from Smith and other supporters of the legislation.
When several major sites made a public protest against SOPA including Google, Wikipedia, Reddit and others, multiple Congressmen dropped their support for SOPA and PIPA with alacrity.
Like SOPA, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) has been taken off the table for now, although it is a near certainty that the most dangerous aspects of the legislation will return in future bills.
“In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT IP Act,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement.
I find this development incredibly encouraging in that it shows that – at least to some small degree – average people indeed can make an impact on the legislative process.
That is, of course, as long as you can get major corporations that control some of the world’s most popular websites on board.
If only we could have seen this kind of widespread, highly organized opposition to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, also known as the NDAA, and the detention provisions contained therein which allow the indefinite detention of American citizens without charge or trial on nothing more than a suspicion.
The establishment media also covered SOPA/PIPA a surprising amount, unlike the NDAA which was barely covered, if it was addressed at all.
When it was covered, they either downplayed or denied the existence of the indefinite detention provisions.
The key here is that we need to realize that this fight for Internet freedom is far from over.
You can bet that similar legislation will be tabled in coming months with the stamp of approval coming from the entertainment lobby.
Without a continued, concerted opposition, such legislation will likely be pushed through the second time around.
I just hope that in the future comparable opposition can be organized for legislation like the NDAA which makes both SOPA and PIPA look like child’s play.
Yes Internet freedom is great, but who would care about such things while being locked away in a military detention center in the United States or anywhere else around the globe?
This article first appeared at EndtheLie.com