Lamar Smith: Blackout a Publicity Stunt, SOPA Markup Will Continue
Some of the web's largest companies have completely or partially blocked access to their services today in protest of two recent piracy bills being considered by Congress (for a complete, up to date list of sites, check out the Technorati article on the SOPA protest). Despite one of the largest coordinated online protests in history, Lamar Smith (R TX), one of the chief sponsors of the bill and head of the House Judiciary Committee, says markup hearings will continue next month.
The web was buzzing with the news that both President Obama and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had said they would not support the bill in it's current form, causing some to call SOPA dead. But the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Lamar Smith plans to move forward, and that the bill has already accommodated the major concessions called for by those opposing the bill, such as removing the DNS blocking component of the bill.
The MPAA has come out with a similar statement, calling the blackout a gimmick:
It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.
The calls for the death of SOPA are certainly premature, but time will tell whether there will be a next markup session, and how Congress will resolve the differences between SOPA, PIPA, and OPEN, the three piracy bills being considered.