VICE's "Shop a SOPA" Copyright Hypocrite Hunt

By Jamie Lee Curtis Taete

Cast your mind back, way back, to this morning. We found out that the guy whose idea it was to kill the internet with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) had used an unauthorized photograph to tart up his own website. Remember? Lamar Smith wants to stop people on the internet from violating copyright law, but, in the process of promoting his career as an internet-killing politician, he violated copyright law himself. Clearly, that makes him a hypocrite. (A hypocrite whose website was "down for maintenance" shortly after this post was published, but appears to be up again now.)

Well, this afternoon we started attempting to gather information of similar copyright infringements by other co-sponsors/supporters of the bill. There's a ton of stuff on these people's sites which, we assume, is copyright protected and not cleared. Take the above video for example. It was uploaded to the official YouTube channel of Lee Terry, the Nebraska representative who was one of the original 12 SOPA co-sponsors. It's hard to imagine that he would have spent the tens of thousands of dollars it would have cost to clear the clips of Looney Tunes, C-Span, ABC News, and FOX News that are used in it. Especially seeing as, at the time of writing, the video has only been viewed 115 times.

The list of co-sponsors has swollen to 81 since the bill was launched, so we're turning it over to you. If you're bored tonight, see if you can find any examples of copyright violation by any of the 81 co-sponsors (the full list of which can be seen here) and send your screengrabs or links to me, at jamie.taete@vice.com – I'll be updating this blog with anything you find.

You might find these links useful:

Who in Congress supports SOPA: http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/

Google Search by Image: http://www.google.com/insidesearch/searchbyimage.html

Internet Archive Wayback Machine: http://www.archive.org/web/web.php

Creative Commons FAQs: http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Frequently_Asked_Questions

Happy hunting!

Comments