Texas Congressman Lamar Smith, sponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act that has moved a number of sites, including Craigslist and Reddit to shut down for the day, accuses the biggest name involved in the blackouts, Wikipedia, of doing a disservice to its users by inciting outrage over the piece of legislation.
“It is ironic that a website dedicated to providing information is spreading misinformation about the Stop Online Piracy Act,” Smith said in a statement released yesterday. “The bill will not harm Wikipedia, domestic blogs or social networking sites. This publicity stunt does a disservice to its users by promoting fear instead of facts. Perhaps during the blackout, Internet users can look elsewhere for an accurate definition of online piracy.”
Opponents of the bill — which includes a lot of people from a wide variety of backgrounds — say it will stifle innovation and stunt growth of Internet start-ups, but Smith countered that they are simply mistaken.
“It’s disappointing that some SOPA critics appear not to have read the bill,” he said. “This bill will not censor the Internet. But it will protect American workers, inventors and job creators from foreign thieves who steal our products, technology and intellectual property.”
Speaking of intellectual property, according to this Vice.com story, Congressman’s Smith’s own re-election site was caught using a Creative Commons photo without any credit to the photographer (a big no-no).
“So according to the SOPA bill, should it pass, maybe I could petition the court to take action against http://www.texansforlamarsmith.com,” the photographer told Vice.