Posted in: Politics, Technology

SOPA Authoring Congressman Lamar Smith Blocks DNS Blocking Language From Bill, Accused of Copyright Infringement

reddit banned domains

In a statement today, Sen. Lamar Smith (R-TX) said that language in the controversial and potentially internet-killing bill known as the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, will be removed.

One might hope that the small concession- DNS blocking was considered one of the most dangerous parts of the all-around-terrifying bill- won’t cause SOPA opponents to become complacent or accept the amended but still awful legislation. SOPA’s evil brother (currently being batted around the Senate as SOPA traverses the House) is known as PIPA, or the Protect Intellectual Property Act. It too is facing significant challenges surrounding DNS blocking provisions some Senators believe need further study before precedent is set that would- you know- tear out the heart of the internet before our horrified very eyes. (Reddit is the first major site planning to go dark for a day in protest of SOPA, supplying the adorable “Reddit warrior” graphic above.)

As an aside, it was pointed out by Vice.com earlier this week that under the provisions of his own horrific SOPA legislation, Rep. Lamar Smith could very well be the same sort of “criminal” he wishes to skewer with the legislation. The site trawled both current and former versions of Smith’s website, and found that there is evidence the congressman may have used images without permission, thereby- under the line of thinking employed by Smith and his fellow internet-ignorant lawmakers- making Smith a picture stealing thief depriving copyright holders of their God-given right to revenue. That is, if the allegations turn out to be true. Amusingly, this could leave Smith open to prosecution… under SOPA.

Below is the full statement from Smith’s office regarding DNS blocking language in the SOPA bill. Are you placated by this small concession?

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today said he plans to remove a provision in the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) that requires Internet Service Providers to block access to certain foreign websites.

Chairman Smith: “After consultation with industry groups across the country, I feel we should remove Domain Name System blocking from the Stop Online Piracy Act so that the Committee can further examine the issues surrounding this provision. We will continue to look for ways to ensure that foreign websites cannot sell and distribute illegal content to U.S. consumers.

“Current law protects the rights of American innovators by prohibiting the illegal sale and distribution of their products by domestic websites. But there is no equivalent protection for American companies from foreign online criminals who steal and sell American goods to consumers around the world. Congress must address the widespread problem of online theft of America’s technology and products from foreign thieves.

“The Stop Online Piracy Act cuts off the flow of revenue to these foreign illegal sites and makes it harder for online criminals to market and distribute illegal products to U.S. consumers. The bill maintains provisions that ‘follow the money’ and cut off the main sources of revenue to foreign illegal sites. It also continues to protect consumers from being directed to foreign illegal websites by search engines. And it provides innovators with a way to bring claims against foreign illegal sites that steal and sell their technology, products and intellectual property.

“American intellectual property industries provide 19 million high-paying jobs and account for more than 60 percent of U.S. exports. Congress cannot stand by and do nothing while some of America’s most profitable and productive industries are under attack. The Stop Online Piracy Actprotects the products and jobs that rightly belong to American innovators.”

The bill is supported by more than 120 businesses and associations from around the country including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Sheriffs’ Association, International Union of Police Associations, the National Association of Manufacturers, the AFL-CIO, the National Songwriters Association and the National Center for Victims of Crime. More information about theStop Online Piracy Act can be found at:http://judiciary.house.gov/issues/issues_RogueWebsites.html

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