Let The Judiciary Committee Know That Creating A Mini-SOPA Without Public Participation Is Unacceptable

from the speak-up dept

Yesterday, we wrote about how Lamar Smith was rushing through a new bill that looked to approve a piece of SOPA that would spend taxpayer money to expand the diplomatic corp with a bunch of people whose job it would be to spread Hollywood’s special copyright interests around the globe… and to set up a special agency for this in the Commerce Department. Despite the public rebuke Lamar Smith got for his efforts to write SOPA in secret and then to rush it through, he apparently didn’t learn much and chose to do this bill the same way. It was put on the schedule to be marked up without the bill even being announced — basically a way to rush it through in secret.

It appears that this plan is falling apart. The markup did not happen this morning, and we’re hearing that support for the bill is wavering. Some of the named co-sponsors have made it clear that they’re just as unhappy that the bill was being rushed out this way without public comment and were uncomfortable with some of the specifics in the bill — and that these concerns mean that the bill may actually be delayed. It may be a very temporary delay, but it does sound like some of the “co-sponsors” may have changed their minds and won’t be supporting the bill. And, for the time being, the markup has been called off.

There is still a lot of back and forth going on, and it’s still important to speak up. Public Knowledge pointed out that the House Judiciary Committee and Lamar Smith need to learn that secret bills are a non-starter, and they’re absolutely right.

Before getting to the substance of the bill, perhaps the most shocking thing about it is how it is being handled by Committee Chairman Smith (who was a driving force behind SOPA). If Congress learned no other lesson from SOPA and PIPA, you would think that they got the message about not developing IP-related laws in secret. But you would be wrong. This bill leaked, fully formed, over the weekend and was scheduled for markup today. Needless to say, this came as a surprise to just about everyone not directly involved with drafting it and provided a very limited opportunity to meaningfully participate in the markup process. Step zero for any new IP bill should be a transparent drafting process.

Given that this is still a highly fluid situation, if you’re represented by any of the members of the House Judiciary Committee, you might want to give them a call and let them know that you opposed SOPA and you’re shocked that the HJC might push through a piece of SOPA in a process that was even more secretive than the one for SOPA itself.

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Comments on “Let The Judiciary Committee Know That Creating A Mini-SOPA Without Public Participation Is Unacceptable”

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36 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Jump up and down and wave your arms. Cause a ruckus. Show them that the 1% rules the world.

Seriously thought Mike, I told you so. You defeat SOPA, and you will just get it handed back to you in pieces, bit by bit, through back doors, last minute amendments to other bills, trade offs, and in all the usual manner that things get passed.

The goal has been set, and it will likely be accomplished, without a simple name for you to rally people against.

Told you so.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

We do have a name to rally against, Rep. Lamar Smith. and the fact that the Bill looked all set to pass through and has now hit a brick wall in a sense shows that your assumption doesn’t quite hold as much water as you previously. I do think that Mike should have Demand Progress start up another petition against this though.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Umm, no?

I’m sorry, are you honestly trying to push ‘it’s going to happen anyway, there’s no point in fighting it’ as your message here?

Because I seem to recall that exact same message being associated with SOPA, PIPA, ACTA…

The fact that the various bought and paid for politicians are doing everything they can to sneak these things through does not mean that people should just shrug and say ‘oh well, it’s going to happen some time, no point in getting upset’, it means that people need to be even more vigilant in looking for, spotting and bringing to light these massive abuses of power.

Honestly, doormats like you are the reason politicians had such an easy time pulling crap like this for so long.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Umm, no?

If you read the article, you would know that it was stopped by the co-sponsors of SOPA who have apparently learned it is against the law to send bills like that through without public opinion.

Lamar Smith is the writer which means he got paid the most. He then more than likely convinced others that the bill was good, but pulled an Obama Care move and added a bunch of the SOPA crap to an otherwise useful bill and not told anyone about the SOPA bits in the hopes he that one wouldn’t be reviewed.

Now all that being said, it also shows he is under the watchful eye of his constituents, who now know his works are tainted. The only reason SOPA went through the House of Representative so fast is that a lot of these proposed bills are a lot of TL/DNR legalese. They saw the same patterns and stopped and actually read what he added.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Umm, no?

I don’t think he’s a doormat. I think it’s far more likely that he’s got a vested interest in seeing these passed; at least that way, he’d be able to spite Masnick with a “neener neener neener”.

Unfortunately for him the rationale that he’s using for a bulk of these arguments don’t pass the laugh test for the average person.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Jump up and down and wave your arms. Cause a ruckus. Show them that the 1% rules the world.

Seriously thought Mike, I told you so. You defeat SOPA, and you will just get it handed back to you in pieces, bit by bit, through back doors, last minute amendments to other bills, trade offs, and in all the usual manner that things get passed.

The goal has been set, and it will likely be accomplished, without a simple name for you to rally people against.

Told you so.”

Good morning Mrs Carreon

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

‘ but try as I may I have been unable to find as a part of the “job description”‘

Do you like wearing jack boots, dark jackets, and IP arm bands? Is your life empty and meaningless? Do you enjoy falsifying evidence and briding politicians? Are you capable of kicking in doors and dragging children out into the night for filling their iPods?

If so we have a job for you … join the IP corps for fun and adventure in foreign lands.

anon says:

Yesssss

Lamar has become toxic when it comes to any agreements in the capitol. If he is involved you can almost guarantee that your trade agreement will not pass, every time Hollywood is involved they destroy all the hard work done by many others and prevent them from passing a lot of good laws that have been negotiated over years.
I would hate to know how much money has been wasted in lobbying and bribes , how many man hours that have just been wasted. Maybe this is why some people are starting to fight back and not agree to these last minute changes.

Anonymous Coward says:

‘Some of the named co-sponsors have made it clear that they’re just as unhappy that the bill was being rushed out this way without public comment and were uncomfortable with some of the specifics in the bill’

seems to me they weren’t that unhappy. had they have been, they wouldn’t have co-sponsored in the first place! more likely is that when this new bill was leaked and the co-sponsors names were released too, they suddenly saw the writing on the wall, as happened with SOPA!

AG Wright (profile) says:

New department now?

I can’t help to think that when we are supposedly in the process of shrinking the budget that now is not the proper time to establish a brand new department that will certainly cost millions if not billions of dollars.
Of course they will probably just take the money from something like the Education Department or EPA that they don’t like and the public does rather than actually raise the money.
It’s just a stupid idea all around.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

Given that this is still a highly fluid situation, if you’re represented by any of the members of the House Judiciary Committee, you might want to give them a call and let them know that you opposed SOPA and you’re shocked that the HJC might push through a piece of SOPA in a process that was even more secretive than the one for SOPA itself.

Shocked! Shocked I am that the House Judiciary Committee, of which 20% are representatives from California, which of course is where Hollywood lives, would try to secretly pass more Imaginary Property legislation! Ahh, wait, the shock is quickly passing… Yep, it’s gone.

Richard M Stallman` (user link) says:

The term “intellectual property” spreads confusion by lumping together
a dozen or so unrelated laws and treating them as one issue. (See
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.html.) To be “for intellectual
property” is a foolish overgeneralization, just like being “against
intellectual property”. This bill is fundamentally bad because it is
based on that sort of foolish premise.

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