Enlarge / A protester at Science March Austin shares his frustration with Lamar Smith. (credit: Nathan Mattise)
Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today acknowledged he is retiring at the end of his current term.
Smith was one of the key sponsors of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which attracted widespread criticism for the powers it would grant companies going after copyright infringement.

For the past five years, he has been chair of the House Science Committee, where he has intruded on peer review at the National Science Foundation and gotten into fights with NOAA because he refuses to accept the evidence for climate change.
Smith represents Texas’ 21st district, which includes huge tracts of rural Texas, along with small slices of both Austin and San Antonio. He was first elected in 1987, which means he will have served for more than three decades by the time he retires. His retirement was announced in an e-mail to his staff that was obtained by the Texas Tribune. His staff later confirmed to reporters that the e-mail was genuine.
Smith vs. the Internet
Smith’s seniority allowed him to assume chairmanship of various Congressional committees, and he used that platform in a way that has attracted extensive criticism. While chair of the Judiciary committee, Smith introduced SOPA.

The bill would have also given rights holders the power to get court orders barring ad services and credit card companies from doing business with infringing websites, and it required Domain Name Server providers to blacklist sites that hosted infringing content.
It would have also allowed the government to obtain court orders to require search services to stop displaying links to websites that host infringing content.

As such, it was opposed by many technology companies and ultimately failed after a huge public outcry.
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