13 Jan 2012 11:43 AM EST
-by Alex Mangini, Staff Writer; Image: Lamar Smith on SOPA (Image Source: Forbes)
The man responsible for engineering a new bill designed to prevent online piracy held a combative interview with Reuters News Agency yesterday in light of recent criticism.
“It is amazing to me that the opponents apparently don’t want to protect American consumers and businesses,” Republican Representative Lamar Smith said. “Are they somehow benefitting 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.”
His Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) intends to completely eliminate the stealing of music, movies and other media from the Internet.
According to Smith, Internet counterfeiters cost American consumers, businesses, inventors and workers some $100 billion a year, though only media magnates such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and others believe the Republican is grossly exaggerating.
“This (SOPA) could potentially obliterate the entire tech industry—a job-creating industry,” Reddit CEO Alexis Ohanian wrote on his blog.
“There are some companies like Google that make money by directing consumers to these illegal websites,” Smith responded. “So I don’t think they have any real credibility to complain even though they are the primary opponent.”