Lamar Smith: if you oppose SOPA, you don't matter

Rep Lamar Smith, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and the principal instigator of the Internet-killing, freedom-hating, pro-censorship Stop Online Piracy Act, has dismissed the bill's enormous, widespread opposition. Smith claims that the million emails sent to Congress in one day, the phone calls received on the Hill at the rate of one per second, and the opposition from scholars, artists, lawyers, civil rights groups, big companies, little companies, librarians, and the engineers who created the Internet are all irrelevant, representing a "vocal minority" who are not "able to point to any language in the bill that would in any way harm the Internet."

We've done exactly what he's claimed we haven't -- as have numerous other parties, including famed Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe, who also cited specific language in the bill. Ditto with former DHS Assistant Secretary, Stewart Baker, who also cited language from the bill about how SOPA will cause significant security problems for the internet.

Rep. Lamar Smith Decides Lying About, Insulting And Dismissing Opposition To SOPA Is A Winning Strategy (via Beth Pratt)


  1. I’ll bet you a dollar that lying about, insulting, and dismissing opposition to SOPA will turn out to have been a winning strategy. I’d be quite pleased to lose that bet, but I don’t expect to.

  2. “Not one of the critics was able to make it worth my while to listen to them point to any language in the bill that would in any way harm the Internet. Their accusations are simply not supported by any money facts.”

    1. Ummm… as of the last few years of court rulings and rule changes, graft is no longer a criminal offense. Not in Washington, anyway.

  3. I had wondered why the internet community reacted more strongly to SOPA than to NDAA, and last night it hit me.  “The internet” perceives SOPA as a threat to its survival.  So it is fighting it.

    The internet is a collective being that has self preservation instincts.

      1. We only wish the response to SOPA could be armies of invulnerable Arnold or Summer Glau androids sent back in time to blow away the legislators before they could ruin the country.

  4. If SOPA passes, won’t people simply move to an alternative DNS system ? Everybody can set up a DNS to bypass SOPA. Or am i missing something?

      1. Which, incidentally, outlaws services the Department of Defense is backing (Onion, Internet in a Suitcase, Etc.)

      2. I might be misguided in the following, but as this is an American law (that has global effect, example being DNS) then surely I can just use a ‘UK’ DNS server that ignores SOPA?  Obviously that would only effect non-US folk (as I’m not in the US I can’t be punished under SOPA for circumventing it), but am I wrong in thinking that’s the likely outcome?  That the US may end up with its own version of the internet, like China?

        1. Well, there are two major effects that SOPA would bring about. One is a gradually-forming bubble around the US on the Internet as they SOPA themselves into a blacklisted corner. This in itself would not really affect the rest of the world’s Internet access, but it leads into the second effect: Websites that depend on the American Internet population now have significantly lower traffic (and therefore ad) numbers, and ad revenue could be blocked if you’re using an ad network/payment processor that SOPA can influence; also, a lot of major English-language websites are IN the US and would go down with it.

          Basically the end-game for SOPA is to destroy the Internet as America knows it. Meanwhile, the IP-hoarding industries (MPAA, RIAA, etc.) are working on trying to manipulate the laws of sovereign nations to pass similar laws, so they can destroy the Internet there as well, since they know US law will largely be ignored for being out of jurisdiction.

        2. By trying to circumvent SOPA, the US government will probably have grounds to have you extradided and imprisoned without trial as a possible terrorist, like they’re trying to do with the Asperger guy who hacked NASA looking for proof of aliens, and our supine government and legal system will let them.
          Also like Gary Mulgrew, one of the ‘Natwest Three’, extradited and imprisoned on spurious, false charges he brought down Enron.
          Don’t think for one second I’m exaggerating this, if you send emails that are deemed to be somehow a threat according to SOPA, and they at any time pass through servers inside US borders, they can have you removed from the UK.

  5. It’s just another data point towards the (already proven?) contention that anyone who shows any interest in political office should automatically be barred from holding any sort of political office.    This is, perhaps, a partial explanation for the evolutionary survival of sociopathy; it is clearly an advantage for a group to have some small number of individuals who desire power without responsibility (they wouldn’t put it that way, of course), although it is usually held in relative check.  There are times, however, when the power they attain becomes to great, at which point the system collapses.

    1. I doubt it’s an evolutionary advantage to the community. I think it’s an evolutionary advantage to the parasite/powerhungerer as long as they don’t kill the host/community.

      1. The thing is that you need people who can make decisions like “enter a war which will result in people on ‘your’ side (and possibly innocent people) being killed” and still be able to sleep at night.    That seems like an evolutionary advantage to the community because they can pass those decisions off and pretend that they didn’t have to take them.  Whereas passing them off to people who actually care may be disadvantageous.  

  6. You do not have enough money to be listened to, or rather, you have not given enough money to Lamar Smith to be listened to…..

  7. Well, where is the language in SOPA that would harm the internet?  I honestly am asking, not being political.

      1. I’ve seen the cynical brit video.  I mean, as the congressman points out, what sentences in SOPA are interpreted in a way that allows this? 

        1. Sadly, pretty much all of them. The entirety of SOPA is set up to allow exactly this sort of thing. (But that’s a good point… guys, if nobody’s done a line by line this-is-stupid-and-why markup on the bill, we should do so immediately.)

        2. watch the GUARDIAN’s video on SOPA then. its more neutral in terms of interpretation but still sums up all the potential issues.

  8. Really, what’s the point anymore? Protesting doesn’t do any good if the people who are elected to govern genuinely do not give a shit what the public wants. Our “representatives” no longer represent anything or anyone but their corporate masters and their own short-sighted greed and ignorance. It really feels like they’ll simply shrug off any opposition short of an outright revolution at this point; we’re just an inconvenience to them.

    1. And mesh Internet begins…  Of course, mesh Internet routers will be made illegal either by SOPA or something else.

      Think about that…In a so-called FREE COUNTRY… you’ll have your house raided and get arrested for simply having a router in your home.

      This isn’t a free country.  Tyrannical corporatists are running the show.

      It’s time to destroy them with everything we got, Americans.

  9. If you support SOPA, you support the objectives of Terrorists.

    Since they passed the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, S. 1867” bill; they may as well try and give it a silver lining.

    1. The Texas 21st congressional district is mostly rural – which makes it a very red part of a very red state. Don’t hold your breath :/

  10. What all the potentially affected companies should be doing is saying “If this passes we would have to close. As a result our staff of 5000 would be unemployed, and the other business whose services we use would loose a major client.” In this economy the loss of a signifigant number of jobs would be difficult for politicians to ignore.

  11. Americans were stupid enough to vote in sufficient republitards into office that they now control the House of Representatives, and controlling the House means they can put barely functioning protohumans like Lamar Smith on key committees that might screw with the entire future of our nation and its service-based (read: online) economy. Scream at your elected officials and demand they stop this stupidity, and then vote out every single member of the GOP and make them get real jobs where their incompetence and dimwittedness can only hurt themselves, like cleaning Porta-Potties or digging out landmines in one of the many areas where they pushed our nation to wage war without reason.

    1. Get off your partisan high horse.   PIPA (SOPA’s Senate version) is sponsored by Patrick Leahy (D-VT).  Cosponsors include Durbin, Kohl, and Franken.   It’s a bigger problem than party politics.

  12. “[W]ho are not “able to point to any language in the bill that would in any way harm the Internet.””

    I like that; it completely ignores that *that’s not how language works.* Or reason.

    Similarly, given “The following sentence is true. The preceeding sentence is false.” I cannot point to a single sentence that is obviously incorrect.

    1. His reported amounts are remarkably low.  Smith has pulled in $86,800 from the entertainment industry and $63,500 from technology lobbying. is a great tool.

        1. Okay, I won’t tell you. Of course what you are missing is that this is the CURRENT money he is getting. When he leaves he gets a job as a lobbyist for the Movie/record industry.

          The kind of money he is anticipating making dwarfs what he is making in campaign contributions.

    2. Reelection.  He’s a whore, but a cheap one; the relevant page is:

  13. Smith has consistently supported restrictions on abortion. In 2009, Smith voted to prohibit federally funded abortions.
    Smith stated that “Marijuana use and distribution is prohibited under federal law because it has a high potential for abuse and does not have an accepted medical use in the U.S., The Food and Drug Administration has not approved smoked marijuana for any condition or disease.”

    Smith’s district was significantly altered in the 2003 Texas redistricting. While he lost most of the Hill Country to the 23rd District, he picked up a significant portion of Austin, including the area around the University of Texas, a traditional bastion of liberalism. Smith won re-election with 62% of the vote, Smith’s lowest winning percentage since his initial run in 1986.

    Hello?  Austin?  C’mon, you guys can do better than this!

    1. I suspect the redistricting was specifically to water down Austin votes and spread them thinly amongst heavily Republican areas.

  14. Well… I hear that [insert name of non-US country] is nice this time of year.  Or maybe SpaceX will help us “rebels” set up shop on the moon…

  15. Ok, so at the point where the politicans disregard the will of the people,  that’s when we do what?  Can we fire everyone now? Can we change the entire system now? It’s broken. It doesn’t work. Voting is a joke.  Time to overthrow the king. The system set up to change things doesn’t change anything. That’s broke too. Can we start over from scratch. One person one vote. No lobbyists. No parties.  Etc, etc…

  16. The problem with SOPA is that the majority of the document has poor verbiage. You can find the text in full, here:

    A good example of the sloppy, and unnecessary nature of the document can be found in SEC.202 TRAFFICKING IN INHERENTLY DANGEROUS GOODS OR SERVICES.

    Basically, this entire part of the document does not need to exist. It’s a rehash of Section 2320 of Title 18 (it even says so!), with the only major change being an added stipulation that someone who “intentionally imports, exports, or traffics in counterfeit drugs or intentionally participates in or knowingly aids drug counterfeiting,” is also to be considered under the new Section, and not under some other part of law. It’s basically a really vague rehash of a really clearly written law that even bothered to include the statement: “(f) Nothing in this section shall entitle the United States to bring a criminal cause of action under this section for the repackaging of genuine goods or services not intended to deceive or confuse.”

    I recommend you read and compare both.

    Here’s Title18, Sec. 2320—-000-.html

    I should probably mention at this point that big pharma seems to be heavily invested in the whole thing. Another section (105 IMMUNITY FOR TAKING VOLUNTARY ACTION AGAINST SITES THAT ENDANGER PUBLIC HEALTH.) is written specifically to allow providers to cut off service to sites that are selling prescription drugs “sans prescription” or counterfeit drugs without repercussion. (I honestly hope this is an attempt by the FDA to control counterfeit drug manufacturing – although it should be written in to the original Title if that’s the case.)

    The ultimate goal of H.R. 3261 seems to be to make a catchall that gives the Attorney General super powers when dealing with domestic and foreign Web issues. The laws that they want to enact are for the most part in some minor place, or should be dealt with as independent issues. They are not that simple!

    If you want to see who the other interested parties are: check out SEC.106 GUIDELINES AND STUDY. That Section confirms that the Attorney General runs things, with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement studying who’s stealing from us to report it all back (on behalf of “the United States and other stakeholders”) within two years to the Register of Copyrights. This really is all about tightening the grip.

  17. According to’_21st_congressional_district_elections,_2012 the next election is 6 November 2012

    The Democratic challenger is Elaine Henderson

    I am unable to locate a website for donations to her campaign.

    edit: I’ve contacted for more information.

  18. “Customer (Dis)Service” which aired on CNBC tonight could give the average viewer a better understanding of just one reason why businesses might want more control over the internet.

    A portion of the show focused on the power of the internet as a recourse for the dissatisfied consumer. Viral videos on YouTube, websites with evidentiary audio and video, and social media networks have provided positive results for consumers who had previously been successfully stonewalled through companies’ resolution channels.

    So, if SOPA allows the arbitrary censorship of sites containing protected material, it may cross over to blocking sites containing videos that are used to complain about improper business practices – with the only out being parodies. That would give power back to businesses that currently are finding consumers speaking out on the net.

  19. What he’s really saying is – YOU DONT MATTER BECAUSE WE’RE PASSING IT ANYWAY AND YOU CANT STOP US!  (And the truth of it is, it probably will pass and no one really can stop them anymore.  They do what they want nowadays, not what WE want.  That ship has sailed.)

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