U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith shared his “three-prong approach” to combating the theft of intellectual property with a full room of Belmont University students this past Monday, Feb. 11. The event, sponsored by the Center for Business Ethics, was an academic lecture convocation titled “Internet Piracy: Copyright Infringement and Compensating Creativity.” Representing Texas’ 21st congressional district since 1987, Smith recently proposed legislation with the purpose of hindering the negative impact of foreign websites that consistently engage in illegal acts of digital piracy. Smith described SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and how the legislation primarily focuses on the prosecution of foreign-based websites.
Smith’s three-prong solution includes public education to the negative effects of copyright infringement, technological advances that allow artists to be paid fairly for their work and legislation that allows federal enforcement. Smith explained, “Theft of intellectual property can affect anyone in this room in one way or another.”
Several students from Belmont’s College of Law asked questions relating to copyrights and recent cases from their class studies. Second-year law student Franklin Graves commented, “It’s important for Belmont to host this type of event. They bring focus to the artist, the creator, the people the legislation truly affects. From a law student’s perspective, it’s great to hear a pro-copyright voice.”