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Lamar Smith
House Judiciary Chair Lamar Smith

The first day of the House Judiciary Committee's work on amending and passing the Stop Online Piracy Act shows that the fix is pretty much in. Not a single amendment from critics of the bill was passed.

Committee Chair Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, seems intent on sending a deeply flawed billed to the House floor. That's where it has to be stopped, and where you can help. We've already we've sent over 44,000 letters to Congress on this issue: Keep those letters going!

Here's where the process is right now.

[A]t the time of this posting, all of the amendments introduced by House lawmakers designed to improve the legislation for critics have so far been voted down by a core of SOPA-supporters in the House Judiciary Committee, moving the controversial bill closer toward passage. [...]

One of the major amendments designed to improve the anti-piracy legislation came in the form of a substitution from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who sought to replace SOPA with the OPEN Act he drafted in conjunction with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), which would shift the power of cracking down on online piracy to the International Trade Commission, rather than the U.S. Attorney General, as SOPA calls for. The bill was voted down 22 “nays” and 12 “yays.” [...]

[W]ith a bipartisan core of about 22 members of the 39-member House Judiciary Committee generally voting down all the amendments that critics sought, it seems as though passage of SOPA, while slow-going, is likely.

There's only member of the committee who has any actual experience with internet technology and commerce, and that's Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO). None of the amendments he argued for—based on his actual knowledge and experience—made it past the hardcore supporters of the bill.

Opposition to this bill is definitely bipartisan, as unfortunately is the support. But that bipartisan opposition is actually pretty powerful, including some powerful chairs and ranking members of other committees. Which means there will be a big floor fight that we can help inform. The fact that the bill is being rammed through without proper consideration, expert testimony or time for members to learn exactly what this bill does means it has to be stopped.

It doesn't matter if your representative is a Republican or Democrat, in this case, because both sides of the aisle are very persuadable on this issue. So, please, contact your representative and ask her or him to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 09:46 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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