Dec. 19, 2011 - The House Judiciary Committee on December 15 held a markup of the so-called SOPA Act (HR 3261), a bill that has produced surprising allegiances and adversaries and has pit some of California's most powerful business interests against each other.
The measure, which would crack down on Web sites that offer or sell pirated and counterfeit products, is opposed by a collection of the largest tech companies because they believe it would come at the cost of innovation and future jobs. The bill's supporters, spearheaded by entertainment producers, believe that the measure is necessary to protect consumers from potentially dangerous products and to protect US companies and workers from losing profits and jobs, respectively.
The Stop Online Piracy Act would allow the Department of Justice to shut down any website determined to be facilitating online piracy as well as order any Internet search provider to block links to the offending site.
The debate over the bill's language has pitted the entertainment capital, Los Angeles, against the tech incubator, Silicon Valley. The measure is supported by entertainment producers such as Comcast, Disney, Sony, and the RIAA. It is opposed by tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Mozilla, and Yahoo!
Since the beginning of the 2010 election cycle, the 32 sponsors of the bill have received almost 4 times as much in campaign contributions from the movie, music, and TV entertainment industries ($1,983,596), which support the bill, as they have received from the software and Internet industries ($524,977), which believe the language goes too far.
|(Jan. 1, 2009 - Jun. 30, 2011)|
|Computers/Internet (Opposes)||Computer software||$273,744|
|Online computer services||$251,233|
|TV/Movies/Music (Supports)||Cable & satellite TV production & distribution||$672,750|
|Commercial TV & radio stations||$265,050|
|Entertainment Industry/Broadcast & Motion Pictures||$320,800|
|Motion Picture production & distribution||$282,150|
|Recorded Music & music production||$317,446|
|TV production & distribution||$125,400|
METHODOLOGY: MapLight analysis of reported contributions to congressional campaigns of the sponsors of HR 3261 from Jan. 1, 2009-Jun. 30, 2011. The bill's sponsors as of Dec. 15, 2011 are Lamar Smith, Joe Baca, Howard Berman, Marsha Blackburn, Mary Bono Mack, John Carter, Steven Chabot, John Conyers, Jim Cooper, Elton Gallegly, Robert Goodlatte, Tim Holden, Peter King, John Larson, Adam Schiff, Brad Sherman, Lee Terry, Melvin Watt, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, John Barrow, Steve Scalise, Ben Luján, Judy Chu, William Owens, Karen Bass, Ted Deutch, Ben Quayle, Tim Griffin, Dennis Ross, Alan Nunnelee, Thomas Marino, and Mark Amodei. The included industries are Computer software, Online computer services, Cable & satellite TV production & distribution, Commercial TV & radio stations, Entertainment Industry/Broadcast & Motion Pictures, Motion Picture production & distribution, Recorded Music & music production, and TV production & distribution. Campaign contributions and industry classifications provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.