Lamar Smith Continues His Campaign Against Foreign SitesBy: Chris Richardson - January 13, 2012
Lamar Smith — master infringer that he is — is at a loss as to why companies like Facebook and Google aren’t completely onboard with the stop piracy acts, topics that have permeated throughout the Internet. In fact, the fact that Internet movers and shakers don’t support SOPA or PIPA has strengthened Smith’s resolve to the point he suggests these companies may indeed be profiting from the acts of the illegal — and foreign, don’t forget about that — sites.
In his latest act of drumming up support for his crusade against foreign infringers, Smith was defiant in the face of opposition from the likes of Google and Facebook, saying these companies should be all for stopping piracy at whatever the cost may be; which includes potentially breaking the Internet with DNS filtering, apparently. While discussing his position with Reuters, Smith offered the following comments:
“It is amazing to me that the opponents apparently don’t want to protect American consumers and businesses. Are they somehow benefitting by directing customers to these foreign websites? Do they profit from selling advertising to these foreign websites? And if they do, they need to be stopped. And I don’t mind taking that on.”
It’s amazing to me how little Smith understands about the way Google and Facebook makes money. He perpetuates his incredible ignorance with the following:
“There are some companies like Google that make money by directing consumers to these illegal websites. So I don’t think they have any real credibility to complain even though they are the primary opponent.”
A simple search for “bittorrent” or other infringement-related keywords, and while you may find organice results, there isn’t any paid advertising. The same is true for searches like “the Pirate bay” and “DVD rips.” Doesn’t Smith have at least one or two interns with some Internet savvy, just so they can save their boss from looking so ignorant about the very issues he’s trying to govern?
Thanks to Smith’s adherence to having tunnel vision, in his mind, the only reason Facebook, Google, and other SOPA dissenters would disagree with such pieces of legislation is because they are somehow profitting from intellectual property infringement. There can be no other reason, even though other reasons have been given by these entities.
While trying to criminalize some of the biggest companies on the Internet, Smith also continued to insist SOPA only affects foreign websites, which again, begs the question: Does that mean infringement is fine as long as it is initiated in the United States and limited to United States websites? Does this mean I can now upload newly released Blu-Ray rips to my site without worrying about punishment from the appropriate authorities, as long as it’s hosted in the United States?
Facetiousness aside, Smith’s insistence that the only reason someone would oppose the stop piracy acts is because they support piracy, or, are profitting from it, is about as closed-minded as one can be, especially when other, more legitimate reasons have been given by the same entities Smith is accusing. Furthermore, Smith’s ignorance about the Internet indicates he’s not the right person to even suggest Internet legislation, let alone, being the main politician leading the charge.
It’s very similar to the latest “Fredo & Pid’jin” web comic, a panel of which leads this article. The title is “Don’t stop me now,” and it’s a perfect way to encapsulate the Keystone Cops-like approach Smith and his cronies are taking to regulating the Internet:
That’s pretty close to being pitch perfect.