The same day that the Senate decided to postpone its voting on the Protect IP Act, the House Judiciary Committee has decided it’s probably time to give more than cursory thought to the Stop Online Piracy Act and has postponed the piece of legislation for the time being.
Committee Chairman and SOPA co-sponsor Lamar Smith, who recently accused sites like Wikipedia of spreading misinformation about the bill, has cried “Uncle,” probably after all the teens in his neighborhood threatened to egg his house the next time Wikipedia shut down.
I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. 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.
The problem of online piracy is too big to ignore. American intellectual property industries provide 19 million high-paying jobs and account for more than 60 percent of U.S. exports. The theft of America’s intellectual property costs the U.S. economy more than $100 billion annually and results in the loss of thousands of American jobs. Congress cannot stand by and do nothing while American innovators and job creators are under attack.
The online theft of American intellectual property is no different than the theft of products from a store. It is illegal and the law should be enforced both in the store and online.
The Committee will continue work with copyright owners, Internet companies, financial institutions to develop proposals that combat online piracy and protect America’s intellectual property. We welcome input from all organizations and individuals who have an honest difference of opinion about how best to address this widespread problem. The Committee remains committed to finding a solution to the problem of online piracy that protects American intellectual property and innovation.
This of course, does not mean the end for SOPA or PIPA, both of which will surely rear their ugly heads either in revised forms or with different names (and probably attached to something like an FAA re-certification bill).