About five years ago, during hearings concerning the adoption of net neutrality rules, Lamar Smith, the US House Representative who introduced SOPA to the world, had a much different stance on regulating the Internet, but only when it suited his needs.
There’s an infamous quote from Smith in 2006, which was unearthed by TechDirt, and while it reads like a vote for an open, non-regulated Internet, the statement is much more self-serving than that. The quote in question:
“I want a vibrant Internet just like they do,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican. “Our disagreement is about how to achieve that. They say let the government dictate it…I urge my colleagues to reject government regulation of the Internet.”
As TechDirt points out, Smith’s position changed as his donations from the entertainment industry increased, and while that’s incredibly valid, it should also be pointed out that the one of the primary reasons Smith was against regulating the Internet in 2006 was to reject the idea of net neutrality.
Smith, instead, preferred the Republican-backed Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement (COPE) Act over net neutrality.
In essence, Smith didn’t want the Internet regulated by the Obama administration, and while the entertainment industry money no doubt greased the wheels for his stance on SOPA, his 2006 statements come across as partisan politics, instead of protecting the nature of the Internet.