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    SOPA author Lamar Smith defends bill, questions critics' credibility

    SOPA author Lamar Smith defends bill, questions critics' credibility


    US Representative Lamar Smith, who authored the Stop Online Privacy Act, has defended the bill and accused its critics of making money from foreign sites that infringe copyright.

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    US Representative Lamar Smith, author of the Stop Online Piracy Act, has doubled down on his support of the bill, and accused its critics of having ulterior motives for their opposition. In an interview with Reuters, Smith speculated that opponents were making money by "directing customers to these foreign websites." In particular, he accused Google of profiting by selling ads on sites that would be blocked under SOPA, saying that "I don't think they have any real credibility to complain even though they are the primary opponent." Smith says he expects the bill to reach the House floor in a few weeks.

    In an interesting wrinkle, Vice may have uncovered a copyright violation on Smith's own site. An old version of Texans For Lamar Smith, Smith's campaign website, apparently used a background image licensed under Creative Commons on the condition that the creator be attributed. Vice says it was unable to find attribution, and the photographer confirmed that Smith had never contacted him to use the image under other conditions, although it's always possible there was attribution in the metadata or somewhere else. When we tried to confirm, however, we discovered that the site had started using robots.txt to block archiving, something that wasn't in place when Vice wrote the article. If the image wasn't attributed, it may well have been an honest mistake — but SOPA's provisions could mean that foreign sites that make the same one would face disproportionately harsh penalties.