As he signaled last week in a statement for an IP enforcement
hearing, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has
introduced a bill that would beef up a Bush Administration IP attachÃ© program,
but some are calling it an effort to piece out the Stop Online Piracy Act,
which also beefed up the attachÃ© program but was scuttled by a Silicon
Valley-led online campaign.
Smith says the current administration has been too lax on
intellectual property enforcement, prompting him to introduce the bill. The
Intellectual Property AttachÃ© Act would call for the placement of IP attaches
in embassies where their presence is most likely to reduce IP infringement.
The bill was being painted by its critics as an effort to reanimate
parts of the dead SOPA bill, with zombie references in both a posting on
and a USA News & World Report story about that and other online stories on
If it is the beginning of SOPA the sequel, one unlikely
backer is Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), one of SOPA's strongest opponents. He
is ready to support the Smith bill, with some modification to exempt fair use,
according to a statement his office provided TechCrunch and confirmed to B&C/Multi was his take on the bill.
"Rep. Issa is set to support the legislation, with small
modifications," the statement said. "The Intellectual Property
AttachÃ© Act is written to help American individuals and companies that are
experiencing intellectual property infringement in certain foreign countries.
The legislation will place USPTO trained IP attaches in countries around the
world, focusing on areas where American job creators and innovators are
experiencing especially high levels of IP-theft. These attaches will work with
the foreign governments to help eliminate in-country IP theft that is
occurring. This is a net benefit to all Americans both IP holders and
consumers. Also, the training and other programs that the attaches may provide
can also help local law enforcement to deal with IP-infringement that is
occurring....Additionally, we expect that an amendment will be made to the
legislation before it is marked up that will instruct the attaches to promote
clear IP exceptions -Â like fair use -- already codified in U.S. Law."
Public Knowledge, which has made its name on championing
fair use, was not assuaged.
In a letter to Smith and ranking member John
PK president Gigi Sohn said her group opposed the legislation and pointed to
the language that had been in the SOPA bill. She also said the bill's
"enforcement only" approach was the wrong way to go. "I ask the
Judiciary Committee to withdraw the [bill] from consideration and pursue an open dialogue with the public,"
she said in a statement.