SOPA rises from the grave once more

Remember when the Internet thought it had killed SOPA, and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief? Load up and get ready to face the most controversial Internet bill in recent memory for a second time in under a year now, if Lamar Smith gets things going his way. Smith is trying to revive pieces of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, slipping them in for consideration again. At the moment, he's trying to push the Intellectual Property Attaché Act, which was in the original SOPA bill, just not heavily publicized.

The new act - let's call it IPAA - calls for the creation of a global intellectual property task force. In other words, a force of people committed to stopping crime, except not superheroes and not nearly as awesome. What's to stop them using SOPA's own views on piracy? SOPA was very much biased towards the anti-piracy measures. Hollywood already seems to have a task force dedicated to investigating people, but the more the merrier.

If IPAA gets in, it would expand the Commerce Department's role to policing piracy globally. Countries with a long history of piracy, such as China, are going to be tough nuts for this group to crack if they're allowed to be formed. Anyway, the World Trade Organization has the jurisdiction to deal with things like that.

Lamar Smith is a name you've definitely seen before. He's the golden boy of the Hollywood executives. Possibly the best known example of Smith's contribution to technology, apart from SOPA, is the expansion of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's powers. He condones bypassing copy protections, and allowing federal police more wiretapping / enforcement powers.

Smith doesn't have any outside bias, though. The Content Industry is his number one campaign contributor. His campaign received $133,000 from content creators during 2011. For that money they could probably turn Smith into a sock puppet and ensure his agreement with their ideas.

If IPAA gets through then Smith will only continue to revive pieces of SOPA. We can only hope the bill will be crushed under popular opinion, as SOPA originally was. Piracy is a topic guaranteed to get some people riled up, but there are some examples of when piracy can be beneficial. Just don't let Smith hear that or he'll be trying to push a bill against opinions online. Massive amounts of public attention was drawn to SOPA through sites performing one-day blackouts, and opinions towards it soured almost immediately. Now we're back at square one, fighting it piece by piece.

Source: TechCrunch

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