Talk to Hollywood lobbyists about the ill-fated Stop Online Piracy Act, and they will tell you that they’d rather put it behind them. But the anti-piracy bill that stalled out in Congress earlier this year is still a flashpoint in the race between two Democrats in the San Fernando Valley, Brad Sherman and Howard Berman.

In a Valley Industry & Commerce Assn. debate on Tuesday, SOPA came up again, as it has in other forums, with Sherman contending that the legislation was so poorly written that foes could exploit it, and Berman defending the bill.

Jonah Lowenfeld of the Jewish Journal writes, “Sherman, who co-sponsored the legislation and said he agreed with its
objectives, said the lawmakers had written the legislation in a way that
played into its opponents’ arguments.

“‘It was the worst script since ‘Ishtar,'” Sherman said, winning a few
laughs from the 75 or so VICA members in attendance. ‘It was the worst
rollout since Edsel.’

“Berman, who is often referred to as ‘the Congressman from Hollywood’
thanks to his advocacy for entertainment industry interests, and also
co-sponsored the legislation, defended SOPA, calling the opponents’
arguments ‘bogus.’ He went on to accuse Sherman of kowtowing to public
opinion, and said that Republican Congressman Darell Issa, who
forcefully opposed the legislation, endorsed Berman in April
specifically because he was confident that he and Berman could ‘go into a
closed room and … work out the differences on SOPA to provide
something effective to deal with the scourge of digital theft.'”

Berman has commanded a big lead over Sherman when it comes to contributions from Hollywood. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, he is the top recipient of showbiz money of all congressional candidates this cycle. But a recent KABC poll showed Sherman with a 13-point lead over Berman.

They are facing each other because of redistricting, and an open primary in June in which the two top vote getters went on to the general election.