Group protests committee interest in SOPA provision

A draft bill would expand an intellectual-property attaché program, but Public Knowledge questions the legislative process

The Judiciary Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives is moving toward passage of a small portion of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, raising concerns among SOPA opponents.

The committee has released a draft bill, called the Intellectual Property Attach頁ct, which would expand an existing program that places intellectual property attach鳠in U.S. embassies overseas.

The attaché °rogram was not a controversial piece of SOPA, but digital rights group Public Knowledge on Wednesday accused the committee of rushing to pass the draft bill without public oversight.

Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican and chairman of the committee, floated the draft bill on Monday in the hope of voting on it in committee Tuesday, but has since pulled the bill from the committee's website. The quick time frame for voting on the bill led Public Knowledge to complain that the committee was trying to rush the legislation.

Smith was the chief sponsor of SOPA, a bill that would have required search engines, domain name registrars, online payment processors and other Web services to stop doing business with websites accused of copyright violations.

The draft bill had no legislative hearing and wasn't formally introduced, Public Knowledge said in a news release. After the failure of SOPA in Congress, about 70 groups called for a "more open, transparent, and deliberative process on bills dealing with intellectual property policy," Gigi Sohn, Public Knowledge's president, wrote in a letter to committee leaders. "The current approach to the Intellectual Property Attaché ¦ails to meet that standard."

Sohn called on the committee to withdraw the draft legislation and instead "pursue an open dialogue with the public" on copyright issues.

"It makes little sense to add to the bureaucracy when the current copyright system is in desperate need of modernization," she wrote. "If the committee is to divert more taxpayer resources towards improving the copyright system, it should start with modernizing the registration system so that artists big and small can get paid."

A Judiciary Committee spokeswoman downplayed Public Knowledge's concerns. The bill draft was posted online, but pulled when committee members decided it wasn't ready to be voted on, she said. A new version will be posted online before the committee acts, she said.

"Unfortunately, some groups and blogs have misreported that this is a follow-up to the Stop Online Piracy Act," she added. "That is not the case."

The committee has met with groups that opposed and supported SOPA on the draft bill, she added. The bill would ensure the better use of funds for the attaché °rogram, she said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?