Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas is one of the most outspoken supporters of the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) that has attracted so much negative attention on the internet. Proponents of SOPA say that it is simply a means of stopping the rampant copyright violations and piracy that is so prevalent on the internet. However, the liberties granted to the government by the act have many website operators and internet users up in arms, including the good people here at Common Sense Conspiracy. Major sites like Reddit have already announce that they will go dark for a day in protest. Wikipedia, another internet juggernaut, is mulling over whether it should follow suit. However, a report at the website VICE got to nosing around and found an excellent example of just how out of hand SOPA could get.
It turns out that Mr. Lamar Smith himself on his very own website used a professional photograph without purchasing a license or offering up an attribution to the photographer. A clear violation of copyright for the photo that he is using for his own personal gain.
Yes, we know, that’s not much of a damning violation, but therein lies the point: if SOPA passes, even little things like this could give the government far-reaching powers to swoop in and render the site useless in a matter of hours, not days. And they don’t have to have much more evidence than this to do it, seemingly.
For the record, DJ Schulte, the photographer, told VICE:
“I do not see anywhere on the screen capture that you have provided that the image was attributed to the source (me). So my conclusion would be that Lamar Smith’s organization did improperly use my image. So according to the SOPA bill, should it pass, maybe I could petition the court to take action against www.texansforlamarsmith.com.”