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SOPA is Back! Open letter to Lamar Smith

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith just announced that the SOPA markup is expected to continue next month.

“To enact legislation that protects consumers, businesses and jobs from foreign thieves who steal America’s intellectual property, we will continue to bring together industry representatives and Members to find ways to combat online piracy,” Chairman Smith said.

“Due to the Republican and Democratic retreats taking place over the next two weeks, markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act is expected to resume in February.

“I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to send a bipartisan bill to the White House that saves American jobs and protects intellectual property.”


Chairman Smith, I challenge you on the issues following issues.

Please explain how less competition protects consumers.

Please explain how increasing expenses for small businesses to prove that they own the intellectual rights to their own products and services is good for the economy.

Please explain how exactly you plan to prevent foreign thieves from building websites that sell products to Americans, legal or illegal.

Please explain how legitimate business will be entitled to due process, rather than having their websites be shut down with the signature of a single judge.

Please explain how online linking to a criminal endeavor can be considered a crime, without evidence of a conspiracy. Isn't that the equivalent of arresting a politician who shakes hands in a crowd of people with a convicted felon?

Please explain how your colleagues in the House and Senate can find bipartisan cooperation for a bill not supported by the American people, yet are unable to come together on critical budgetary and jobs bills the American people support.

Please explain, Mr. Chairman, exactly how many of the SOPA supporting organizations have contributed directly to your campaign coffers, and in what dollar amounts?

Finally, Sir, please explain the ways in which Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, Google, Amazon, eBay, PayPal, Reddit, Digg, Stumble Upon, Craigslist, WordPress, Blogger, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Bing, MSN, Live, Flickr, and Tumblr among others will be able to manage user generated content and search without substantial policy changes that will not inhibit free speech, freedom of protest, and our ability as citizens to assemble.


Jason Tweed


  1. While this letter was addressed to Mr. Smith, I also cc'ed my local Representative in Congress, Mr. Tom Marino, a cosponsor. Below is a copy of that e-mail.

    Mr. Marino,

    As you may have heard, Mr. Smith from Texas has vowed to reopen SOPA after a rewrite. On your Facebook wall, you suggested you would examine the legislation in more depth.

    This morning, my blog ( has published an open letter to Mr. Smith. Below you will find a copy of the text of the post, posing specific questions and challenges. As a courtesy to my local representative, I wanted to make sure you were aware of the letter.

    Additionally, I encourage you to research the same questions, and reconsider your cosponsorship of this bill. The anti-competition motivations behind it, and its inability to do what Mr. Smith claims, will hopefully sway you.


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