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Lamar Smith Offers Further SOPA Clarification

So it's Google's fault?

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Lamar Smith Offers Further SOPA Clarification
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What do you do when it seems like the entire world is against something you are trying to accomplish? Do you ignore the criticisms and soldier onward? Do you consider the criticism and its potential validity? Or do you ignore it completely, and try to reverse the criticism back into the dark holes it had the audacity to rise up from?

If your name’s Lamar Smith, primary sponsor of SOPA, the final option is the one you’d most likely adhere to. Just ask the New York Times. In yesterday’s online edition — 1/9/2012 — Smith “wrote” a letter to the editor, in an attempt to clarify some apparent misunderstandings concerning SOPA, or at least, that’s the way it started.

After a couple of paragraphs of reassurances that SOPA won’t pursue domestic sites — does this mean American web users can infringe at will now without worrying about any potential recourse? — and discussing the various entities supporting SOPA, Smith turns his sights direct at Google, as if to say the only reason Google is opposed to SOPA is because they make money “directing consumers to illegal foreign Web sites,” which sounds an awful lot like passing the buck to me.

In other words, don’t worry about how bad SOPA is. Look at Google’s business practices. It’s their fault the entertainment industry is failing. Here’s Smith’s statement in its entirety, which appeared in the NYT:

“The Danger of an Attack on Online Piracy,” by David Carr (Media Equation column, Jan. 2), unfairly criticizes the Stop Online Piracy Act, which I introduced, but it does not point to any language in the bill to back up the claims.

SOPA targets only foreign Web sites that are primarily dedicated to illegal and infringing activity. Domestic Web sites, like blogs, are not covered by this legislation.

The SOPA debate is not just between the entertainment industry and high-tech companies. SOPA protects intellectual property of all kinds, which is why it’s supported by more than 120 groups and associations across diverse industries, including the United States Chamber of Commerce.

We need to examine the real motives of the “big Internet guys,” like Google, that oppose SOPA. Google made huge profits by directing consumers to illegal foreign Web sites, so its opposition is self-serving. In fact, Google recently paid half a billion dollars to settle a criminal investigation because of its promotion of foreign pharmacies that sold counterfeit and illegal drugs to American patients, possibly endangering their health.

We need to protect American consumers and businesses. The illegal theft of American intellectual property and the counterfeiting of goods like medicine, automotive parts and even baby food pose a serious threat to the health of American consumers.

LAMAR SMITH
Washington, Jan. 6, 2012

Now, let’s look at the section where Smith calls Google out again, with emphasis added:

We need to examine the real motives of the “big Internet guys,” like Google, that oppose SOPA. Google made huge profits by directing consumers to illegal foreign Web sites, so its opposition is self-serving. In fact, Google recently paid half a billion dollars to settle a criminal investigation because of its promotion of foreign pharmacies that sold counterfeit and illegal drugs to American patients, possibly endangering their health.

As for the first bolded section, is Smith honestly saying sites like the Pirate Bay contributed to Google’s vast financial coffers just by being listed? In other words, did the Pirate Bay pay Google to stay in its search index?

Um, no, they did not.

Perhaps Smith is talking about all the AdWords ads that appear when someone conducts a search for “bittorrent” or “The Pirate Bay.” Oh, wait. There aren’t any. In fact, as of January of 2011, Google turned off Auto Complete when those and other related searches are conducted. Apparently, Smith missed that memo, or completely ignored it since it doesn’t fit his criticizing agenda.

As for the Canadian prescription drug flap, while Google has indeed been monetarily punished for their role, even though the rogue advertisers themselves played as big of a part as Google’s advertising network did. Furthermore, Smith is only defending a broken system, in this case, prescription pills in the United States, one that forces people to look elsewhere for cheaper alternatives. Seeing how this very subject has been covered extensively since before the turn of the century, it’s curious that Smith suddenly tries to paint Google as the bad guy, even though they’ve already been punished for their previous actions, and they no longer allow that kind of advertising.

From Google’s AdWords FAQ:

Online pharmacies
Google AdWords prohibits the promotion of online pharmacies and prescription drugs.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers
Google AdWords prohibits the promotion of branded drug names by pharmaceutical manufacturers in the ad text, website, visible URL, and keywords.

Notice how Smith ignores this very simple rule while he’s placing Google on the chopping block? If it doesn’t fit an agenda, apparently the Washington way is to completely ignore it.

Lamar Smith Offers Further SOPA Clarification
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  • http://dld.bz/aDR8D POed

    The world finds Lamar Smith’s lack of faith disturbing. And his arrogance nauseous.

  • GamerLEN

    Smith’s letter translated from politicalspeak:

    “WAAAAAAAAAH! MOMMY! THEY’RE FIGHTING BACK! MAKE ‘EM STOOOOOOOOOOP! WAAAAAAAAAAAAH! They’re poopheads…”

    Seriously, I’m fairly certain I remember a techdirt article back in November saying that the New York Times was one of the entities OPPOSING Lamar’s little precious. Makes me wonder why he didn’t send it to one of the supporting companies who’d have shouted it from the rooftops while subtly hinting that Google may or may not have had ties to the Taliban, Atheism, and The Gays.

    I will say this though. As SOPA continues to go down in flames I at least know that Cowboy Cletus up there will be fun to watch. :P

  • Heretic

    His statement that SOPA only applies to foreign websites is a complete and total lie.

    Yes, DNS filtering does apply only to foreign websites because they don’t need that capability domestically.

    Because….

    Title II of the bill makes it a serious crime within the US to even post a link to copyrighted material. Regardless of one’s opinion of whether that is right or wrong it is definitely part of the bill.

    That makes this statement by Lamar Smith (R-Texas) a complete and total falsehood. He’s lying. Of course considering how much he has compromised himself on the behalf of his coporate paymasters that should be little surprise.

    He has absolutely no credibility left on this or any other issue. The really sad part is that he will probably be re-elected by a population who he no longer is interested in looking out for.

  • David

    On one face he says that this is only targeting foreign offenders.

    Then on the other face he uses Google as an example of who the offending parties are…

    Last I checked, Google is down the street in the USA.

    Smith, buy a techno-clue.

  • Bloodline

    Only thing we can do as far as Mr. Lamar Smith is concerned is just sit back and watch him screw his own pooch.

  • ComboBreaker

    The ignorance of these non-technologically inclined people is absolutely abhorrent and frightfully scary. The way that he ignores everything else, all the people who will be affected. Grrr. I’m so mad right now.

  • Joseph

    5 words

    HE lives in a bubble

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