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BLOG: Brown favors SOPA and PIPA, Kaptur and Latta oppose

Tom Jackson • Jan 19, 2012 at 2:24 PM

(Updated with Sherrod Brown statement). Many of the Internet's most popular sites, such as Wikipedia and Boing Boing, have gone black today to protest SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act.

Supporters say the bill is necessary to stop online piracy of movies, music, etc.; opponents say it invites government censorship and restriction of the Internet.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is a SOPA supporter. In fact, he's signed on as a co-sponsor of PIPA, a similar bill. So far, I have not been able to find a statement from Brown on the subject. A web site says it has caught Brown violating Google's copyright.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, and U.S. Rep Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, have both come out against SOPA.

Kaptur: "The Internet must remain free from government interference. Of course I support the protection of copyrights, but we have seen what government interference has meant in countries such as China, Iran and Syria. The SOPA is poorly crafted and ultimately threatens free speech."

Latta: "SOPA and Protect IP Act are well-intentioned proposals that attempt to address online piracy concerns; however, in their current form the legislation goes too far. The proposals can present damaging ramifications to free speech, global cybersecurity and Internet functionality. At this time, I do not support SOPA and Protect IP Act in their current form, and I hope further committee hearing will be held to resolve these concerns."

If/when I get comments from Sen. Rob Portman and U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, I will update. 

UPDATE: Brown now says he is searching for "middle ground."

Statement from his press secretary, Allison Preiss: "Sen. Brown believes that we must find a middle ground that combats online piracy while protecting innovation and free speech. He wants to be sure the legislation is targeted at foreign rogue sites that sell knock-off pharmaceuticals, scam consumers and cost U.S jobs rather than sites that drive American innovation."

UPDATE II: Preiss said that Brown's Web site always included attribution.

"The image in question is a rotating thumbnail image from our homepage that links to a larger map with full Google attribution, both in text and in the embedding code," she said.

A screen shot shows that Brown's office added a plainly-visible attribution after the original report appeared. Google's policy requires attribution "readable to the average reader or viewer."

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