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Patrick Leahy and Lamar Smith: We'll shepherd piracy bill through like patent law

'Stealing is stealing,' Sen. Patrick Leahy said about online piracy on Tuesday. | John Shinkle/POLITICO Close

Judiciary Committee Chairmen Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. Lamar Smith said Tuesday they intend to use the same method to push online piracy bills through Congress that they used to successfully pass the first major overhaul of the U.S. patent system in six decades.

The two lawmakers, named POLITICO and POLITICO Pro's Technology Policymakers of the Year, said the proliferation of online piracy causes serious risks to public safety and costs American jobs.

"Stealing is stealing. I don’t care if it’s on the Internet or you're breaking into a warehouse somewhere — it’s theft," Leahy (D-Vt.) said at POLITICO and POLITICO Pro's Policy+Politics event.

But the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act in the House are no strangers to controversy. Major Web companies — including Google, Twitter and Facebook — have argued the bills would hamper future innovation online and encourage censorship on the Internet.

Smith said he's working to address these concerns with SOPA before the bill is marked up next week. But his goal to is make "70 percent" of people happy with the final product.

"We think we can address these concerns, but not all of these concerns," Smith said.

The camaraderie between the Democrat and Republican was evident on Tuesday evening. The two joked over their skills on the shooting range, with the Texas Republican commending Leahy's sharp shot.

The Judiciary Committee leaders credited their close working relationship to the successful passage of the patent reform bill this year.

"I didn’t make a move on whatever I was doing without letting him know, and vice versa," Leahy said.

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The hearing in the Senate is coming up soon. The bill's not dead yet. Please help keep the pressure on.
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Remember the big stink over the House's version of the Internet Censorship bill? Enough people made noise about that one that support is eroding. Now, the Senate version is coming up for a vote in this coming week. This bill's been around longer, and has more support than the House version had. We've got to make even more noise about this one than the House version.

Please let your representatives know how you feel about this bill.


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January 2013

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