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Texas Legislators Sound Off on SOPA Blackout

An image created by SOPA opponents, imagining how alleged illegal content might be seized if the bill were passed.
Image courtesy
An image created by SOPA opponents, imagining how alleged illegal content might be seized if the bill were passed.

With the sponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) hailing from Texas, and Austin being a high-tech hub, there’s been plenty of local reaction to the internet blackout in protest of SOPA and the accompanying Protect Intellectual Property Act. We have reactions from several Texas lawmakers on the bills:

  • Sen. John Cornyn writes on his Facebook page that “Texans have soundly rejected the ‘pass now, learn later’ approach that we saw with Obamacare, and the potential impact of this legislation is too far-reaching to ram it through Congress in such an abrupt way. Stealing content is theft, plain and simple, but concerns about the internet and free speech necessitate a more thoughtful, deliberative process.” This isn’t the first time Cornyn’s been pressed on the issue, as SOPA-opposed constituents met with his office earlier this week.

  • In a statement to the politics blog Burnt Orange Report (another site that is opposed to the SOPA proposal) Rep. Lloyd Doggett writes: “Lamar Smith's self-styled 'Stop Online Piracy Act' (SOPA) threatens freedom of expression, cybersecurity and technological innovation. I have joined colleagues to offer a more focused alternative, which addresses legitimate piracy concerns without mandating censorship or blocking websites.  Our 'Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital Trade' (OPEN) Act, as the name indicates, seeks to maintain an internet that is as open and free as possible.  The reasonable goal of fighting copyright infringement must be pursued in a way that does not impair the web as an important engine for economic growth in Central Texas."
  • SOPA sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith, who represents part of Travis County, issued a statement yesterday attacking Wikipedia’s SOPA blackout: “It is ironic that a website dedicated to providing information is spreading misinformation about the Stop Online Piracy Act. The bill will not harm Wikipedia, domestic blogs or social networking sites. This publicity stunt does a disservice to its users by promoting fear instead of facts. Perhaps during the blackout, Internet users can look elsewhere for an accurate definition of online piracy.” Smith has also announced he intends to resume “markup” and discussion of SOPA soon, although Talking Points Memo found support for SOPA and PIPA “quickly eroding” today on Capitol Hill. 
Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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