After a Hollywood-heavy panel of witnesses at the first hearing for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) last month thoroughly outraged everyone, the House of Representatives is bringing in the nerds. Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican and outspoken SOPA opponent, announced a new hearing on Monday and listed seven Internet-friendly witnesses who will appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, of which he's the chairman. Reddit is going to freak out about the last name on the list:
- Mr. Stewart Baker: Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP
- Mr. Brad Burnham: Partner, Union Square Ventures
- Mr. Daniel Kaminsky: Security Researcher and Fortune 500 Advisor
- Mr. Michael Macleod-Ball: Chief of Staff/First Amendment Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union
- Mr. Lanham Napier: Chief Executive Officer, Rackspace Hosting
- Dr. Leonard Napolitano: Director, Center for Computer Sciences & Information Technology Sandia National Laboratories
- Mr. Alexis Ohanian: Co-Founder, Reddit.com, and Web Entrepreneur
Ohanian has specifically been super hands on in protesting the bill, as has the community he helped create. A couple of weeks ago, we learned that Reddit, when upset, is very good at affecting change. A threat of boycott alone forced GoDaddy to pull its support of the bill, and Reddit's now going after Paul Ryan, sort of randomly, because he's voiced his support in the past. And like a good Redditor, Ohanian is asking into the hivemind for help with his testimony. He floated the request on Reddit a month ago and so far, it's earned nearly a thousand comments.
Unlike the last few hearings which took place in the House Judiciary Committee under the watch of Chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican and a huge SOPA proponent, the discussion at this latest hearing is sure to be more critical of the bill and technical in nature. When Congress tabled the bill before leaving for the holidays, Issa hinted as much. "This bill is not ready for prime time," said Rep. Darrell Issa, said in last Friday's hearing. "First of all, we haven't heard from the scientists. We haven't done our due diligence." Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican who was born in Silicon Valley, begged his colleagues to "bring in the nerds." Chaffetz's wish is Issa's command, and in a couple of weeks, it's going to geeky on Capitol Hill.