Law Firms Removing Their Name From SOPA Supporters' List; SOPA 'Support' Crumbling
from the well-look-at-that dept
So we were just discussing how a bunch of companies who were listed by the US Chamber of Commerce as SOPA/PIPA supporters are demanding to be taken off the list, noting that, while they had agreed to a generic statement about fighting the sale of counterfeit goods, they don’t support crazy broad legislation like SOPA/PIPA. It seems that others listed as “supporting” SOPA are scrambling to get off the list as well. The Judiciary Committee’s official list had included a bunch of big name law firms as being in support of the law as well — which is a little strange, since law firms usually don’t take official positions on things like this. They may express opinions on such matters on behalf of clients, but outright supporting legislation is a different ballgame altogether.
A group of lawyers (most of whom have a long history of working with the entertainment industry) did send a letter to the Judiciary Committee to say that they agreed with Floyd Abrams’ analysis of SOPA. That’s it. They didn’t say their firms supported SOPA — and, in fact, there’s an asterisk with the signatures noting that the names of their firms are solely for identification purposes. Yet the Judiciary Committee took those names anyway and put them on the supporters list. Expressing a legal opinion on a bill is extraordinarily different from supporting the bill. But the Judiciary Committee ignored that and listed them as supporters anyway.
From what we’ve heard, many of those law firms are not happy, and have been demanding removal from the Judiciary Committee’s official list. Among those who have already complained/been taken off the official list are Morrison & Foerster, Davis Wright Tremaine, Irell & Manella, Covington & Burling. I would hope that the Judiciary Committee removes all the names and issues a rather public apology for blatantly including the names of firms who clearly made no statement in support of the proposed legislation. This is a pretty egregious move on the part of House Judiciary Committee staff. They’re so eager to list supporters that they’ve been naming firms who do not support the bills. And then they’ve been using those claims to pretend there’s widespread support…
So, between the US Chamber of Commerce stretching what many companies thought they were supporting and pretending it meant support for SOPA/PIPA, and the Judiciary Committee’s over-eagerness to assume that a legal analysis of one part of the bill by a few lawyers meant their huge law firms supported the bill… it’s looking like the facade of widespread corporate support for SOPA is crumbling pretty quickly…
Filed Under: house judiciary committee, law firms, legal analysis, pipa, protect ip, sopa, support
Companies: covington & burling, davis wright tremaine, irell & manella, morrison & foerster, us chamber of commerce