Following the House Judiciary Committee’s decision last week to postpone a vote on the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act until this Wednesday, the MPAA has already predicted a big win for copyright holders. One of SOPA’s chief proponents since it was introduced this fall, the trade group believes the bill will be passed “by a strong bi-partisan margin.”
“We applaud Chairman Lamar Smith, Ranking Member John Conyers and the members of the House Judiciary Committee for taking up and showing such strong bi-partisan support for legislation to curb online content theft and counterfeiting by foreign rogue websites, which are costing hundreds of thousands of American jobs and billions in lost wages and benefits,” said Michael O’Leary, senior executive vice president for global policy and external affairs, in a press statement (.pdf).
O’Leary’s wish for stronger governmental power over shutting down domestic and foreign “rogue sites” dealing in pirated and counterfeit content could be granted this Wednesday when the bill is called for a formal vote.
Last week, SOPA author Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) held a meeting to weigh new amendments to the bill. The debate carried on for nearly half a day before it was adjourned. The following morning the group reconvened for another round of back-and-forth.
Critics fear the legislation may have far-reaching negative effects on the Internet.
Google Copyright Counsel Katherine Oyama told House Judiciary members last month that SOPA is at odds with the DMCA. Cyber rights advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation argued that the proposal would place unfair pressure on legitimate sites to police its users. Others have simply dubbed it government-sanctioned censorship.
“It is critical that this legislation, along with the PROTECT IP Act, which was already approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee, move forward to preserve American jobs and help grow our economy,” said O’Leary. “Every day of delay means foreign criminal websites and companies profiting from these websites continue to reap financial gain at the expense of American jobs and Americans’ hard work, investment and ingenuity.”