SOPA Opera

The Villain Behind SOPA, Rep. Lamar Smith: Copyright-Violating Hypocrite?

no sopa The Villain Behind SOPA, Rep. Lamar Smith: Copyright Violating Hypocrite?

NO SOPA FOR YOU MR. SMITH.

Texas congressman Rep. Lamar Smith has become a national household name, rare for obscure politician such as himself. It’s because he’s the author behind the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, better known as SOPA, which if passed, could give our government the power to shut down any website they find in violation of online piracy laws.

Including, it would seem, his own.

One of VICE’s reporters has taken note of Rep. Smith’s website, which—in an earlier iteration—apparently used a background image of some lovely trees.

Which were borrowed without the permission of the image’s copyright holder.

Who does not recall ever licensing them to Rep. Smith or his staff for Rep. Lamar’s uses, or receiving credit for the images used.

I managed to track that picture back to DJ Schulte, the photographer who took it. And whaddya know? Looks like someone forgot to credit him.

I contacted DJ, to find out if Lamar had asked permission to use the image and he told me that he had no record of Lamar, or anyone from his organization, requesting permission to use it: “I switched my images from traditional copyright protection to be protected under the Creative Commons license a few years ago, which simply states that they can use my images as long as they attribute the image to me and do not use it for commercial purposes.”

VICE contacted Rep. Lamar’s office and is waiting to hear back. By the standards of SOPA, Rep. Lamar’s website could’ve been shut down (and theoretically, still could be) for being in violation of the law he helped draft. This is how utterly absurd the garbage pile of Hollywood-funded legislation that is SOPA actually, in practice, is.

fkamer@observer.com | @weareyourfek

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Comments

  1. Why is the conservative congress so hell bent on regulating the internet when it comes to copyrights and so called intelectual property. If the so called conservative congress is so very concerned about excessive regulation of business than they ought to revamp the entire patent and tradmark system to make it harder for the holders of these patents and trademarke to sue for violations. The reason that the internet has been so successful is because of the limted amount of government regulation of It.  Everybody pays for the legation one way or another. Many businesses are seriously harmed by having to defend themselves against lawsuits brought by all the holders of these unreasonable patents and trademarks. Consumers are forced to pay much higher prices for the patented and trademarked services and products than would otherwise be the case. I believe these guys are in the pockets of the crony capitalists. Senator Orrin Hatch is one of the worst culprits on this issue. If he had his way their would be no internet because just about everything anybody did on the internet would be a violation of someones copyright or someones intellectual property rights. I would like to say one other thing about Senator Orrin Hatch. Mr Hatch please don’t kill the goose that laid the golden egg.  Congressman lamar Smith and senator Orrin Hatch should concern themselves with more important matters.  

  2. send maleto says:

    Well when you look at the Use of the image and not just someone’s eye-catching headline!, any lawyer would say fair-use; and rightfully so!
    What a bad play on this one!

  3. Two frightening pieces of controversial legislation, SOPA
    and The NDAA only go to further stifle our Constitutional Rights without the
    approval of the Americans, just as the Patriot Act was adopted WITHOUT public
    approval or vote just weeks after the events of 9/11.  A mere 3 criminal charges of terrorism a year
    are attributed to this act, which is mainly used for no-knock raids leading to
    drug-related arrests without proper cause for search and seizure.  The laws are simply a means to spy on our own
    citizens and to detain and censor public opinion without trial or a right to
    council.  You can read much more about
    living in this Orwellian society of fear and see my visual response to these
    measures on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/09/living-in-society-of-fear-ten-years.html

  4. DIrtyMouthedVixen says:

    This SOPA is a distraction from all the mess the government has caused with other bills.  

  5. Mark Zemrak says:

    Lamar Smith is a bastard

  6. guest666 says:

    fuck lamar smith