SOPA Lives On Despite Facebook Opposition

Facebook's strong opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act isn't stopping lawmakers from charging ahead with it.

Facebook may be approaching one billion users, but that doesn’t scare Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

Reuters reported that Smith vowed to keep pushing the Stop Online Piracy Act, despite strong anti-SOPA efforts by Facebook, Google, Twitter, Reddit, and other Internet companies.

One of the main reasons for opposition to SOPA, especially by Facebook, is a provision that would require Internet providers to monitor customers’ traffic and block websites suspected of copyright infringement.

The social network and other Internet companies are already battling against similar, technologically and logistically infeasible requirements that India is trying to impose: Imagine the scale of duplicating those measures in the U.S.

Earlier this month, Facebook joined AOL, eBay, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo, and Zynga in backing an alternative to SOPA, the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade, or OPEN Act, which, the companies said in a letter to Congress:

Targets foreign rogue sites without inflicting collateral damage on legitimate, law-abiding U.S. Internet companies by bringing well-established international trade remedies to bear on this problem.

And there have been rumblings that Facebook and other Internet power players would consider going dark for one day to protest SOPA.

Smith remains unfazed, however, as he told Reuters:

It is amazing to me that the opponents apparently don’t want to protect American consumers and businesses. Are they somehow benefiting by directing customers to these foreign websites? Do they profit from selling advertising to these foreign websites? And if they do, they need to be stopped. And I don’t mind taking that on.

There are some companies like Google that make money by directing consumers to these illegal websites, so I don’t think they have any real credibility to complain, even though they are the primary opponent.

Readers: Do you think SOPA has a realistic chance of ever becoming law?