Lamar Smith, The Author Of SOPA, Gets Caught Violating A Copyright

Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX)

Isn’t it funny when a Republican calls for a law against something only for them to get caught doing what the new law punishes? The latest Republican to commit this kind of hypocrisy is Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, who happens to be the author of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

Jamie Lee Curtis Taete of Vice.com did some digging to find out if Lamar Smith has been honest when it comes to copyrights. It turns out, he may be guilty of violating one. According to Taete, Smith violated a copyright by using a photograph on his website without crediting the photographer. This is the background photo Smith had on his website.


Taete tracked down photographer DJ Shulte, the man who took the photo, sent him a screen capture, and asked him if Smith had asked for permission to use the picture. Turns out Smith didn’t need permission. All he had to do was give credit to Shulte and he wouldn’t have violated a copyright. But apparently, Smith was too lazy to give credit where credit is due.

“I switched my images from traditional copyright protection to be protected under the Creative Commons license a few years ago, which simply states that they can use my images as long as they attribute the image to me and do not use it for commercial purposes,” Shulte said. “I do not see anywhere on the screen capture that you have provided that the image was attributed to the source (me). So my conclusion would be that Lamar Smith’s organisation did improperly use my image. So according to the SOPA bill, should it pass, maybe I could petition the court to take action against www.texansforlamarsmith.com.”

Not too long after Taete published her discovery, Smith’s website was taken down for maintenance. Coincidence? I think not. Note to Republicans: If you’re going to author a new piece of legislation that cracks down on piracy, make sure you’re not guilty of stealing copyrighted material. It’ll come back to bite you.