SOPA Also Shelved Indefinitely

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.

Writes Lamar:

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).

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  1. consumed says:

    This is just a small battle that has been won but the war has barely even started. It’s just a matter of time before they rewrite it and come up with another piece of legislation that does the same thing but in a more sneaky way. Just give it time… when there are huge corporations behind these bills the money always wins.

    • bethshanin says:

      Hopefully they talk to someone who knows how to operate a computer next time. Sure, piracy needs to be addressed, but there are better ways to do it. (Like making all content available to download for a price, if I can buy it and use it the way I want, I won’t go looking for other ways of obtaining it)

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Absolutely – the fact that content owners covet your wares so greedily is why pirating is so prominent.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Covet their own wares, not yours. No one wants your wares.

    • areaman says:

      What happens when there’s other huge corporations that oppose (American Express Company, Ebay, Google, etc) the legislation is on the other side?

    • alexwade says:

      The ones that are $for$ this bill will just wait until the heat is off and then sneak it in as a rider in another law that is sure to pass, such as relief to tornado victims. Then if any politician votes against the tornado relief/SOPA bill, opponents of that politician will use his voting record and say “Senator Smith voted against helping people affected by a natural disaster.”

      • Javin says:

        This, this, this, this!!!

        This is precisely how the “Enemy Belligerent Act” got shot down, then not even a few months later, was snuck in with the NDAA. (And oh by the way, as an American Citizen, you can now be jailed indefinitely, without trial or proof, without being read your miranda rights, in a military prision if some political enemy of yours states they “suspect” you of terrorism. No trial, no lawyers. Period. Welcome to the totalitarian states of America.)

  2. John says:

    But yet copyright terms remains 80 years after the death of the inventor (soon to be extended again, once Mickey Mouse gets close to that new deadline). Don’t seem to be getting any support to have THAT fixed :(

    • Jaynor says:

      Mickey Mouse is trademarked, not copyrighted… this is how Disney works around public domain laws.

      • Yacko says:

        Mickey Mouse is both. The name is trademarked and all the produced content with Mickey Mouse, back to the first released cartoon, Steamboat Willie, is still under copyright. If some of that content lost copyright, it could be reproduced by anyone. Within narrow limits one could label a DVD reissue as “Mickey Mouse” as that is the content. What would not be allowable would be to use the name for a stuffed doll without licensing for that trademarked name.

    • James says:

      I wonder if we have forgotten the original intent of copyright.

      It was to make sure that a content creator could profit from their works while providing an incentive to create more. I’ve worked in publishing, and created my own content. By all means I want to make sure that I get paid for what I’ve done, but I do not think it is reasonable for copyright to last my lifetime plus eighty years.

      Copyright of 7 to 14 years will allow the capture of most of the money for most works in movies, music, or books. A limited time span encourages more creation, and is plenty to protect the authors of those works. It does NOT work in the interests of corporations, and this is why we see a fight to expand copyright terms, and hardly any mention to reduce it.

      Until we can remove the fallacy that a corporation is a person and deserves the same rights, we will continue to see perversions like this.

  3. dwtomek says:

    Mr Smith doesn’t deserve to lead around the red fox he keeps strapped to the top of his head, let alone his constituency.

  4. sqlrob says:

    Yes, it’s a problem. But “The online theft of American intellectual property is no different than the theft of products from a store.” is blatantly false.

    You steal something from the store, they can’t continue selling it.

    • DrLumen says:

      Also, if it something like a CD or DVD that someone stole from a store it would be a minor misdemeanor and not punishable by 5 years in prison or something crazy.

    • rdm says:

      Michael-Raymond James (of True Blood and Terriers fame) went off on Twitter about people who steal content online and then said, “I’m going to the bar to have some drinks.. which I will then pay for.” *sigh* Is it so hard to understand this concept? Or make an appropriate metaphor?

      • galm666 says:

        Two totally different things:

        If Jimmy steals a DVD, then that DVD with that SKU, with that specific inventory number cannot be sold at retail. His punishment will be minor, misdemeanor charges with some community service or something else where his local community will benefit from fines paid or service done.

        If Jimmy downloads a DVD illegally and keeps the contents for his own private use, that link didn’t expire from his usage, nor does that data disappear from the internet. However, Jimmy will probably be fined into the thousands and will end up paying the money to a pseudo-law enforcement entity that’s made up of who knows whom, where his fines will more than likely not go to benefit his community.

        Two different creatures.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Sounds like a great case for reform on internet piracy.

        • Sudonum says:

          Jimmy needs to somehow compensate the artist for their work. The artist, not the RIAA or MPAA. And movie studios need to be compensated or else little Jimmy might not have movies to download for too much longer under that model.

          • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

            See, if we had the option to put money directly in the artist(s)’ hands, we would. But as it stands, our dollars filter through big corporations that take their respective shares and cuts, leaving the artist with a pittance-per-sale.

            • Sudonum says:

              But in most cases that’s the contract that they artist signed. It may suck, but it’s still the only way to compensate them for their work. And they deserve to be compensated for their work just like you or I do.

          • pythonspam says:

            I call b$ on that statement. Artists write, shoot, act-in, edit, and present movies that don’t require a dime of studio investment, often at higher quality than the studios currently crank out. The only visible difference is that studios spend big bucks on impressive-looking CGI effects that, due to the ever-progressing technology available to consumers will allow the small studios and independent filmmakers to duplicate the same.
            And they can put it out on the internet for free, because it costs nothing to distribute and gets their creation in front of a desirous viewership.

    • Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

      You’re also not stealing a physical item with intrinsic value or physically taking an object from someone and depriving them of its use.. You are making a copy which has “virtual value.” Just because someone pirates something doesn’t necessarily mean they ever would have bought it in the first place (in some cases yes, in others, no).

  5. DrLumen says:

    I wonder if big media will make him return all the contributions he received from them.

  6. ThinkingBrian says:

    I going to say the same thing that I just said to someone else, I think we need another protest next week to send the message home to Majority Leader Harry Reid. Mark my words, Majority Leader Harry Reid will do a midnight vote and pass the senate bill. He is known to do that. Next, Nevada needs to get Reid out of office in the next election and find a real person.

  7. elephantattack says:
  8. Netstar says:

    They are postponing this until after the elections to protect their position in office. After the elections, it will be either added to another important bill or voted on in a quiet closed session over a weekend.

    The media will do their job and keep it quiet.

    Big corporations will win this otherwise there will be no lobbyist money in the Congressional stockings come this Christmas.

    Congress is worrying about jobs when they have been giving corporations tax breaks for sending jobs overseas? Congress has the ability to talk out of both ends. Neither end benefits the US citizen.

    US citizens lose as usual.

    • ronbo97 says:

      >The media will do their job and keep it quiet.

      I was reeeeeally surprised that on the day of the SOPA/PIPA protest, CNN’s website chose not to make this a top story. Instead, it was buried in the tech/business news.

  9. PSUSkier says:

    I really don’t like that the term “indefinitely” is being thrown around all over the place. Yes, it may be shelved without a solid timeframe for bringing it back, but it is far from gone.

  10. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    Had to post this on this thread. On a humor aggregation website, http://www.eatliver.com, (note mostly safe for work, but some slips through) they posted an analysis of Lamar Smith’s campaign website.

    I assume it is somewhat accurate. They tracked out the original photo that is used in his background. It appears that is is a copyrighted work that he did not pay for nor attribute to the photographer.

    In other words, Lamar Smith is a PIRATE, aarrrggghhh!

    http://eatliver.com/i.php?n=8308

    • Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

      A quick followup. A quick google for the photographer, DJ Schulte, turns up a LOT of articles in real newspapers confirming this.

      Make him walk the plank!

  11. dolemite says:

    Those are some very big unsubstantiated numbers. Why not just go with 1 trillion? 100 Billion doesn’t seem like so much these days.

  12. homehome says:

    I would never trust anyone with hair like that. It just implies shady.

  13. Difdi says:

    I will agree that America’s innovators and job creators are indeed under attack…by people like Lamar Smith.

  14. Jack T Ripper says:

    Here’s the thing…. A pirate who downloads a copy of something like Photoshop CS5 is not costing Adobe any money. If they had the $200 to buy it then maybe they would, but them stealing it isn’t costing Adobe any money. It isn’t costing anybody their job. In fact, now that this guy has a copy of CS5 perhaps he will create content which stimulates the economy and creates jobs. You’ll just never convince me that because JayZ isn’t a bazillionaire because people steal his music without paying for it. If I steal your car, yet it is still in your garage and you don’t notice, then have I really stolen anything?

  15. Kuri says:

    Until I hear that this legislation is dead completely I will not be satisfied.

    • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

      Do you remember the “Information Awareness Office” proposal shortly after 9/11? There was huge public outcry about the overreach of government surveillance and data mining it would implement. So much so that there was a hasty backpedaling, and it was promptly defunded.

      Does that mean that its intended goals were shelved too? Not on your life! All of the programs were (and still are) simply carried out quietly via other federal agencies. Good luck with that FOIA request on the activities of the NSA, NRO, or “OGA”.

  16. Rachacha says:

    Let’s analyze the facts that Mr. Smith quoted. We will assume that the statistics he quotes, probably sourced from the MPAA and RIAA are accurate (except where mentioned below).

    American intellectual property industries provide 19 million high-paying jobs.
    >>>19 million is approximately 10% of the US workforce, I guess when you include ALL IP, even items outside of SOPA/PIPA this might be true

    and account for more than 60 percent of U.S. exports.
    >>>Hmm. According to export.gov, 60 percent would suggest that transportation equipment electronic products and machinery would be included in this statistic. How is SOPA going to stop someone from copying an automobile or locomotive?

    The theft of America’s intellectual property costs the U.S. economy more than $100 billion annually
    >>> $100B is less than 10% of total US exports. Another thing to consider, many software manufacturers (and presumably movie and music) assume that a certain percentage of their product will be pirated and jack up the price of authentic materials purchased to offset their loss. I doubt this 100B figure includes the higher prices that we are paying, and I also doubt that IP holders will lower prices if SOPA/PIPA were passed.

    and results in the loss of thousands of American jobs.
    >>> Thousands of jobs lost out of 19 million IP related jobs. Assuming “thousands” is less than 100,000 (otherwise it would be “hundreds of thousands”), If this bill did what was promised, the total job increase would be 0.5% of the total IP related jobs.

    Assuming that these statistics are correct, these bills are not going to cause a sudden cure to unemployment, are not going to increase exports significantly, and are not going to reduce costs for us.

  17. StevePierce says:

    I didn’t help when Rep. Lamar Smith’s own website got busted for using copyrighted pictures without credit. A violation of current law.

  18. StevePierce says:

    Dear Jack T. Rip-off,

    So by your logic, breaking into a theater and watching a movie you didn’t pay for is perfectly legal as long as there were empty seats. Same thing for a baseball game. It didn’t cost the owner anything besides the seat was just going to be empty.

    Or better still, since the neighbor’s house was empty it is perfectly OK to move in because it was already empty, you didn’t push anyone out and besides, since you are now squatting, your logic suggests that if you mow the lawn you have made it better so we should be thankful you broke in in the first place.

    I need to go to Florida next week, just leave your keys in the car, I promise to bring it back before you need it, and besides, a few extra miles won’t hurt you and I going to buy gas and food so I am helping the economy during my road trip so you should be grateful I used your car while you were sleeping.

    Not.

    Stealing is stealing and it doesn’t make it any less of an offense because the person you are stealing from is rich or suffers no physical harm from your theft.

    It is too bad you don’t get it.

  19. BooWeh says:

    if we all now all these things why do we not revolt and take down the system? why are we complaining on a website instead of going out and chaning things? the US democracy is a corrupt sham. it needs to be destroyed and built anew.

    • VintageLydia says:

      And yet when we do, we’re called dirty hippies with too much time on our hands (example: Occupy Wall Street and similar protests.)

  20. energynotsaved says:

    Got an email from one of my senators, a co-sponsor, which said he had withdrawn his support. While I’m glad he buckled under the pressure, this game isn’t over. Got to keep watching them. The money people won’t give up.

  21. Terron says:

    SOPA isn’t even the worst internet related bill that is coming up for Congress. The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 is MUCH worse, since it forces every ISP to log everything you do.

    All to protect the children, of course.

    • Kuri says:

      These days we don’t give up our liberty for safety, someone else makes us give up our liberty for their safety.

  22. NotLeftist says:

    Why did this have an effect but the last big push years ago didn’t? Simple: Little old ladies with no technical knowledge but a deep-seated need to share pictures of Mister Tiddums being cute. Geeks have no influence in and of themselves, but if geeks’ grandmas start thinking something is important, the earth will move.

  23. diagoro says:

    I’m betting they will wait until the furor quiets down, the currents elections pass, and there’s some major crisis that’s taking 90% of the press’ time.

    In the meantime, expect this to be passed behind our backs, or bundled secretly with some other bill (where even the politicians who voted for it can deny blame since they ‘don’t have time to read all the bills they vote on’).

  24. axiomatic says:

    Speaking as a native Texan: Can we shelve Lamar Smith permanently too?