5. Dear SOPA: No one likes you
It's unlikely that Rep. Lamar Smith, unapologetic champion of the most-hated Internet legislation in recent memory, expected that his Stop Online Piracy Act would attract so much vitriol so quickly.
But after the Texas Republican expanded the government's power to censor allegedly piratical Web sites beyond what earlier versions allowed, SOPA became approximately as popular as "enhanced" airport pat-downs. Nearly 90,000 Tumblr users telephoned Congress to register their disagreement, and hundreds of Web sites--including that of Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from Silicon Valley--applied a bit of HTML code from AmericanCensorship.org to "censor" themselves in protest last week.
Mozilla, maker of the Firefox Web browser, created a page saying: "Protect the Internet: Help us stop the Internet Blacklist Legislation." So did Wikimedia (as in, Wikipedia). Even the European Parliament, not known for its deep interest in U.S. copyright laws, overwhelmingly adopted an anti-SOPA resolution.
Smith, whose campaign committee receives more cash from Hollywood than any other source, remains unrepentant. He's planning a rapid-fire committee vote on December 15 that would bypass the House subcommittee charged with overseeing copyright law. "There should be additional hearings" on SOPA, says Markham Erickson, head of NetCoalition, whose members include Amazon.com, Google, eBay, and Yahoo. That's about as likely as Hollywood's favorite Washington Republican becoming a card-carrying member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
--By Declan McCullagh
November 23, 2011 12:00 AM PST
Photo by: Graphic by James Martin/CNET
| Caption by: James Martin
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