House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said Thursday that he is planning to mark up controversial legislation before the end of the year that would crack down on piracy and counterfeiting on foreign websites.
During a hearing Wednesday on Smith's Stop Online Piracy Act, Smith and other supporters of the legislation urged opponents of the bill to offer up concrete changes in writing instead of offering vague criticisms. A Google official testifying on behalf of coalition of tech firms including Facebook, eBay and Yahoo, said the bill as drafted is too broad and could snarl legitimate websites and stifle innovation and free speech.
In an interview Thursday with Tech Daily Dose, Smith wasn't overly optimistic that the committee would be getting much concrete input on changes that would address opponents' concerns. "They have too much self-interest," Smith said.
Some U.S. companies benefit from the advertising on sites that offer pirated movies and other content. When asked about Google in particular, he said, "Google is clearly benefiting from illegal foreign websites that steal American companies' intellectual property."
Smith added that such companies "should be willing to give up a few tainted dollars to help" other U.S. companies".
At Wednesday's hearing, Google Copyright Counsel Katherine Oyama said the company has gone to great lengths and expense to try to take down illegal content when notified about it
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also raised concerns with Smith's bill.
"The problem of rogue websites duping consumers is a real one and deserves Congress' attention. The internet, human rights, and cybersecurity communities have raised concerns that SOPA doesn't strike the right balance that protects the needs of copyright holders and internet users alike," Pelosi's spokesman Drew Hammill said. "Tens of thousands jobs in all the affected industries require us to find an effective solution that all stakeholders can support."
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