SOPA creator caught in own web - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

SOPA creator caught in own web

This image appeared on Texas Rep. Lamar Smith's campaign website in July, reportedly violating the very copyrights he seeks to protect. (Source: DJ Schulte) This image appeared on Texas Rep. Lamar Smith's campaign website in July, reportedly violating the very copyrights he seeks to protect. (Source: DJ Schulte)

(RNN) - The author of the controversial SOPA bill, which seeks to introduce stricter penalties for companies and individuals caught violating copyright laws online, has been caught in his own web.

An archived screen shot of the website of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-TX, shows a beautiful lush forest in the background.

This stock image has been traced back to photographer DJ Schult, according to an article by Vice.com.

The photographer protects his image under the Creative Commons license, which allows anyone to use an image as long as it is attributed to the photographer and not used for commercial purposes.

But attribution for the forest image does not appear on Smith's website. If the congressman's proposed legislation were to pass, action could be taken against it.

While Smith's website no longer utilizes stock images, save for one banner strip across the top, the incident has exposed the faults and vagueness that critics point out in the congressman's bill.

SOPA would empower federal law enforcement agencies with the right to shut down sites that illegally post and sometimes sell intellectual property from the United States. PIPA would empower courts with the ability to demand that ISPs block access to certain foreign sites, in essence, censoring them.

Both bills are beginning to crack under pressure, with lawmakers announcing mid January they will be reevaluating SOPA and six GOP senators and the bill's co-sponsor asked for a voting delay until revisions can be made to PIPA.  

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