Unbowed by protests, Lamar Smith to move ahead on piracy bill

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) vowed to push forward with his controversial anti-piracy bill on Tuesday as popular websites prepared to go dark in protest.

“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,” Smith said in a statement.

Smith’s bill, known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), would empower the Justice Department and copyright holders to demand that search engines delete links to sites deemed to be “dedicated” to copyright infringement. Ad networks and payment processors would be prohibited from doing business with the sites.

The markup of SOPA was left unfinished in December when the House broke for the holiday recess. Since then, an online movement against the bill has gained strength, culminating Wednesday with a coordinated protest by some of the Web’s most-trafficked sites.

Wikipedia and Reddit will temporarily shut down on Wednesday and display only a message criticizing SOPA. Thousands of smaller websites have also promised to participate.

Google will post a banner opposing the bill, but won’t block access to the search engine.

Smith dismissed Wikipedia’s blackout as a “publicity stunt” and said his committee would continue the markup of SOPA in February.



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