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Copyright, the Internet, and Congressional Palace Intrigue

BY Nick Judd | Friday, July 13 2012

TechPresident escapee former associate editor Nancy Scola drills in to the Intellectual Property Attaché Act, a bill Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) seemed poised to include in a Tuesday markup session at his House Judiciary Committee before tech blogs and Internet people freaked out. The bill has not made it to markup.

She writes that the bill seemed like a post-SOPA trial balloon from Smith, a hard-liner when it comes to copyright and the chairman of one of the most powerful committees in the House. And he was floating it into an uncertain atmosphere — air that longstanding supporters of the old-guard content industry might not find as breathable as they have in the past:

One possibility: The House Republican leadership, eager both to be seen as the party of the future and to have the favor of the tech world, will lean on Smith to stop being so reflexively retrograde when it comes to the Internet. There are signs that similar forces were at play in SOPA's demise. Another: Smith will be done in by House rules. At the moment, committee chairs have to step aside after three terms, as required by the GOP's bylaws. Smith has held the chair only since last year, but he was the ranking Republican on the committee for two terms before ... The last possibility is the most revolutionary. House Republicans actually elect their committee chairs, and Smith could face a challenge from someone within his own party, a la the epic battle between auto-industry favorite John Dingell and environmentalist Henry Waxman for the chairship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in 2008, when Democrats were eager to get legislating against climate change and in favor of progressive energy policies. Waxman won.

To save you the trouble of checking: Darrell Issa is indeed already on the House Judiciary Committee.

The whole story is, as always worth a read.