Congressman Jim McDermott announced yesterday on his personal Facebook page that the controversial Stop Piracy Online Act is is not the best way to proceed in fighting online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.
"I've heard from many of you about the 'Stop Online Piracy Act' (SOPA). We need to do something about online piracy, but this bill is not the right way to do it," McDermott wrote.
The Seattle congressman's opposition comes at a time when opponents are mobilizing to defeat the measure, introduced by conservative Texas senator Lamar Hunt on October 2011. Its companion in the House is known as the so-called Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).
Opponents insists the twin measures violates the First Amendment and would, if it were to become law and bring about Internet censorship. Petition drives and boycotts of companies supporting the legislation are gearing up and popular websites remain in blackout mode in protest.
The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Courts could halt online advertising networks from doing business with the allegedly infringing website, and stop search engines from linking to such sites -- all the while requiring Internet service providers to block access to them. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison for ten such infringements within six months.
There was to have been a demonstration today at Westlake Center, which was snowed out.
One of the big online companies participating in blacking out its popular network of sites is Seattle-based Cheezburger, one of the largest online humor publishers in the world.