According To Lamar Smith, Data Or Criticism From Anyone Who Doesn't Like SOPA Isn't Valid

from the wow dept

We recently wrote about PolitiFact trashing Lamar Smith for the numbers he used in support of SOPA — numbers that PolitiFact says grade out to “false.” What I somehow missed was at the very end of that article, they ask Smith to respond to the charges that his argument was false. Amazingly, rather than respond to the actual data, Smith chose to instead attack one (of a few!) of the people that PolitiFact discussed the data with, Julian Sanchez:

After we summarized much of this research, Smith objected to Sanchez as an expert, saying in an email that because Sanchez is opposed to the anti-online-piracy act, he “cannot provide an objective or unbiased analysis.” He stood by his statement, telling us: “Since the U.S. is the largest producer of (intellectual property) that is consumed around the world, one can surmise that a significant amount of that total value is taken from the U.S. economy.”

First of all, what? Considering that the numbers Smith used came from industry lobbyists in favor of the bill, doesn’t that mean that Smith should be objecting to his own numbers? After all, the source of those numbers — the Chamber of Commerce — “cannot provide an objective or unbiased analysis.” Or perhaps Smith thinks that only those in favor of SOPA can provide such an analysis.

Either way, that statement is insane. Smith honestly seems to be saying that any information — no matter how factual — cannot be trusted if it comes from SOPA opponents. Why doesn’t he have that same skepticism towards the data that the MPAA and Chamber of Commerce handed him?

Furthermore, his decision to stick by his comments is doubly insane. The fact that the US is the largest producer of intellectual property that is consumed around the world… does not, in fact, mean that any counterfeiting is “the total value taken from the US economy.” Is this guy serious? PolitiFact flat out points out that it’s false, with data to back it up, and shows exactly how Smith is blatantly lying about the data… and Smith’s response is to restate the error and insist that the thing already proven false must be true?!?

Smith’s constituents should demand better. Having an elected official who lives in a fantasy world where facts are ignored is not a good thing.

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Comments on “According To Lamar Smith, Data Or Criticism From Anyone Who Doesn't Like SOPA Isn't Valid”

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al says:

Using lamar Smiths quote. “After we summarized much of this research, Smith objected to Sanchez as an expert, saying in an email that because Sanchez is opposed to the anti-online-piracy act, he “cannot provide an objective or unbiased analysis.”” The same logic apllies to Smith. If smith supports the anti-online-piracy act he “cannot provide an objective or unbiased analysis.” Stale mate.

Anonymous Poster says:

According to Lamar Smith, Google is the entire Internet and corporate rights are more important than the rights of individual people.

I believe that makes Lamar Smith unfit to perform his job. He should serve the people who elected him and expected him to represent their best interests, not the corporations who seek to buy him off and erode the rights of the American populace in the name of profits.

(I’m an idealist, I know.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Mr. "I can't hear you" strikes again!

Wow. Lamar Smith is pretty cocky that he’s not going anywhere for awhile.

I seriously hope that the internet pulls off an upset and blasts Mr. “I can’t hear you” off his sorry ass.

Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but when you don’t even listen to a source that backed up all of its claims by numerous verifiable and trustworthy sources, you don’t deserve to be a representative of the people.

And, no. I’m not going to make any *insert politician here* jokes based on that last paragraph. There are far more witty, yet charming people out there that can do a better job than I can.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:


The ACTUAL numbers do seem to indicate that there is little to no harm caused by file sharing.

The ACTUAL numbers also indicate that file sharing can have a net positive effect for the artists building exposure and a fan base.

The ACTUAL numbers also indicate that curbing file sharing would be accomplished by offering the consumers what they want through legitimate channels as opposed to increasing ineffective enforcement.

So no, AC 312, the numbers he is working from are not as valid as those claiming no harm when they interpret the real data available.

Anonymous Coward says:

Smith’s constituents should demand better.

Have you been to Texas? His constituents think that Baby Jesus put the oil in the ground 6000 years ago, and that the devil invented the internet to corrupt your children and to turn people into commies. Lamar Smith will probably be elected governor of the nation of Texas if he successfully destroys the internet.

Anonymous Coward says:

best not to assume he's insane

“his decision to stick by his comments is doubly insane”

I think it’s best to assume that Mr. Smith is rational.

It would be great if these posts also included footnotes, or direct parenthetical comments, outlining the amount of campaign contributions received by the politician in question from copyright cartel. And what percentage that amount represents for them.

It would help a great deal in putting their position in context.

Dementia (profile) says:


Either you forgot your sarc mark or you are an idiot. Nothing like painting an entire population with the same brush used on one specific moron. There are quite a few Texans who do not agree with anything you have just stated. Unfortunately, its the ones who do that get all the press coverage and are, apparently, appointed to the bench in East Texas.


It really is it's own country

Regardless. This is still Texas. It’s a red state. It’s not California. It’s also not New York or Tennessee. Just who does this idiot think he’s pandering to? It sounds like a bunch of out of state interests that would be viewed as morally objectionable to most of his core Republican base.

He’s not the representative for Hollywood.

It never ceases to amaze me when members of the Texas delegation get on this particular bandwagon.

Paul Hobbs (profile) says:

“Since the U.S. is the largest producer of (intellectual property) that is consumed around the world”

Really?? I find that hard to believe. For example, Hollywood may have the highest revenues for movies worldwide, but Bollywood dwarfs Hollywood in terms of the number of films that are produced, and the size of it’s target audience. As for music, I don’t have the figures but I’m pretty sure that there are lots of bands/artists in other parts of the world. I’ve heard some of them.

A message to Lamar Smith (he reads this blog, right?):

Let’s agree that America is a great country. But it is not the only great country. And it isn’t the only country to produce “intellectual property”. Brazil is a great country. New Zealand is a great country. Germany is a great country. You, sir, need a Copernican revolution. You need to realise that America is not the centre of the universe.

The Moondoggie says:


Either way, that statement is insane.

Not really, it just lacks intellect. Which is why it’s suspicious that they claim us pirates steal intellectual property from the U.S. when there is nothing produced by intellect to steal since U.S. is currently experiencing a period where it lacks intellect, symptoms best shown by Hollywood and Lamar Smith.

I say U.S. as a whole because, seriously, who voted for this guy?

SuperiorAnonymousCoward says:

I love it when the ones at the top can ignore the rules (or manipulate them) and get their way no matter what……

F**k lamar, I will kill him if he or anyone who shares his ideals succeeds, no SOPA/PIPA/ACTA/PCFIPA/TPP/OPEN.

I’m seriously afraid these skeletons will get their way and take down the internet so I’m grabbing everything I want as fast as possible

Anonymous Coward says:


Incorrect. I think the US (and the world) has come to a time of incredible intellect. I think the access to information and general tenacity of the world’s population these days has lead to that.

Of course, almost none of that is in Hollywood or the government. I imagine that’s where you were going with your statement though, which I would totally agree with.

HumbleForeigner (profile) says:


SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and TPP, of all of them TPP is the most accurately named…

Toilet Paper Politics
Where the politicians wipe their ass on the rights of people and the legislative process of their country.

As Billy Connolly said “I think, roughly, the desire to be a politician, should ban you for life for ever being one.”

Link here

Loki says:

best not to assume he's insane

In a day and age where the sort of double speak and blatant falsehood as Lamar speaks were not easily verifiable by million of people within minutes of being uttered, one might be able to argue he was rational.

Regardless of how much money get funneled into his campaign, it’s like saying the American flag is green, yellow and brown, then being shown the flag, having the red, the white, and the blue pointed out clearly, and still insisting that it is green, yellow, and brown.

Loki says:


At first read, I found the statement hard to believe too. I mean there is a good likelihood that China, India, and maybe even Japan produce more intellectual property than the US.

However, giving it a second read, he might well be right. There is a good likelihood that more US intellectual property is consumed around the world (if by that he means outside its “home” country) than any other nation.

The statement is still a bit disingenuous, though, because US intellectual property is almost certainly a rather small percentage of global production, and most likely a small percentage of total global consumption.

Mekhong Kurt (profile) says:

Maybe it’s something in the air or water back in his district, perhaps combined with noxious gases wafting north from the refineries along the Gulf Coast. After all, the water table tilts south and east from Smith’s district — right into, by the way, Rep. Ron Paul’s. That would explain why Smith’s (and Paul’s) constituents keeping sending him back to the Capitol, and why Smith appears to have a serious learning disability or something. (Paul’s just plain weird, but I guess polluted water and air could account for that, too — mild mercury poisoning maybe?)

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