Rep. Lamar Smith, author of the fiercely controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, doesn't sound like he's bothered much by the heated opposition from e-powerhouses such as Facebook, Google, Reddit, and Twitter. "It is amazing to me that the opponents apparently don't want to protect American consumers and businesses," the Texas Republican tells Reuters. The SOPA bill, which would authorize the government to seek federal injunctions against foreign-based websites suspected of piracy, is still in committee hearings and could reach the House floor in a few weeks.
In the meantime, the rhetoric is only intensifying. Reddit, whose founder says SOPA would "obliterate the tech industry," pledges to go dark for a day next week in protest, and Google's Eric Schmidt has said it would "effectively break the Internet." Smith: "Are they somehow benefiting 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."