Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lamar Smith, author of SOPA, on being a copyright violator

The SOPA Act is a legal monstrosity supposedly designed to stop online piracy and to protect intellectual property. 

The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who makes the request, the court order could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators such as PayPal from doing business with the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for 10 such infringements within six months. The bill also gives immunity to Internet services that voluntarily take action against websites dedicated to infringement, while making liable for damages any copyright holder who knowingly misrepresents that a website is dedicated to infringement.

In other words, anyone bringing a frivolous lawsuit against, say, a political opponent or an unpopular opinion could get a site shut down for a long, long time. 

The bill was introduced by Texas Congressman Lamar Smith. 

This is where it gets good.  Delicious good.  Juicy good. 

Here's an old screen shot from Lamar Smith's website, compliments of a blog called Vice Beta. 

See the beautiful photo in the far margins?  It was taken by someone named DJ Shulte. 

Lamar Smith didn't credit Shulte for the photo. 

Here's Shulte, once again from Vice Beta:
"I do not see anywhere on the screen capture that you have provided that the image was attributed to the source (me). So my conclusion would be that Lamar Smith's organization did improperly use my image. So according to the SOPA bill, should it pass, maybe I could petition the court to take action against"

Here's Vice Beta again:
We've contacted the office of Lamar Smith and are waiting on a response.

I was kinda curious myself, went to the Smith website and asked about the copyright violations on the website of the dude sponsoring the Draconian bill against copyright violations.  This is what I got:
“A past iteration of was built by an independent contractor for the 2010 election cycle.
“Texans for Lamar Smith relied on that independent contractor to provide a product in keeping with all applicable laws, as the campaign does with all entities providing goods or services.
“Design, development and management of was last October placed in the hands of a company that assures all images are being properly used.”

- Mike Asmus, manager
Texans for Lamar Smith
In other words, somebody else did it.  It's not Lamar Smith's fault.  But if you made the same mistake, Smith and Uncle Sam want to shut your ass down. 

Here's a link to the site of James Strohm, the Libertarian who I hope will run again for Smith's seat, just in case you want to send James some money.  

A Fresh Coat Of Whitening to the great Radley Balko for the first link. 


CenTexTim said...

Lamar Smith is my congresscritter. He's been a congresscritter for the last 24 years or so. If I look at his position on various issues I agree with him probably 90+% of the time. But...

If he's been in congress that long he's part of the problem. While I may agree with him much of the time, overall he's at least partially responsible for the mess this country is in.

So I will support Strohm for congress, just as I will support various Libertarians for county and state offices. IMO meaningful change is driven from the bottom up, not the top down.

That's why I can't force myself to vote for either Ron Paul or Gary Johnson. If they had a reasonable chance of winning, that would be one thing. But a protest vote, or voting to send a message, is too risky. The damage obama would do in a second term just might be fatal.

Pogo said...

Tim, your congresscritter is a piker compared to this commifornia assembly babe.

What will you do when Ron Paul is the Republican nominee, stay home?

CenTexTim said...

Sorry, I should have been clearer in my remarks. I won't vote for Paul or Johnson as candidates of a third party. If Ron Paul is the repub candidate then he gets my vote.

Amazing, isn't it, how the charges were dropped from a felony to a misdemeanor. I'm sure they would have done the same for a non-congressweasel.

I lived in Houston for a while and had the misfortune to live in Sheila Jackson Lee's congressional district. She's the poster child for why protected districts for minorities (or white conservatives or anyone else) is a dumb idea.