Faced with the unsettling news that Congress is still somehow more popular than Fidel Castro, a bipartisan group of representatives began an effort to rectify the situation by holding hearings on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which would punish companies for posting pirated content online and prove that censoring the Internet isn't just for authoritarian communist states anymore.
But a few Members of Congress think shutting down all access to a domain because a user uploaded copyrighted material to a website is going just a little bit too far…
More recently, we've seen growing opposition within Congress itself. The latest SOPA opponent: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Reacting to a tweet from San Francisco resident Jeffrey Rodman, the San Francisco Democrat tweeted on Thursday that her colleagues "need to find a better solution than #SOPA." She also urged Congress: "#DontBreakTheInternet." This seems to be the first time Pelosi has weighed in on the SOPA debate, and it suggests that the concerns of SOPA's critics are being heard on the Democratic side of the aisle.
And Pelosi is far from the only member of Congress opposed to the legislation. On Tuesday, ten members of Congress signed a "dear colleague" letter expressing concerns with the bill. The signers were nine Democrats plus Rep Ron Paul (R-TX), a libertarian-leaning candidate for the GOP presidential nomination.
Maybe, but then again, when someone on the bus sneezes in your face, is the proper response to hand them a tissue and ask them to excuse themselves? Or, should you take out a gun and blow their brains out? Sure, the first solution is "targeted" and commensurate with the offense, but the second is oh so satisfying and permanent.
Such is the thinking of SOPA sponsor and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, who believes the appropriate reaction to our favorite series of tubes being clogged with pirated material is to rip up the pipes and bludgeon the high-tech and social-media industry until the piracy stops. And who (except politicians of wildly divergent opinions like Nancy Pelosi and Ron Paul, and law professors, and engineers, and civil libertarians) could disagree?
Photo by Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Group/Getty Images
Tags: ACLU, House of Representatives, Internet, Lamar Smith, Nancy Pelosi, Ron Paul, Twitter