WIN FOR THE INTERNET COMPANIES!
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said he would postpone a critical vote that had been scheduled for January 24 “in light of recent events.”
Lamar Smith, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, followed suit, saying his panel would delay action on similar legislation until there is wider agreement on the issue.
“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products,” Smith said in a statement.
SOPA is the ability of intellectual property owners to effectively pull the plug on foreign sites against whom they have a copyright claim. If Warner Bros., for example, says that a site in Italy is torrenting a copy of The Dark Knight, the studio could demand that Google remove that site from its search results, that PayPal no longer accept payments to or from that site, that ad services pull all ads and finances from it, and—most dangerously—that the site’s ISP prevent people from even going there.
Either of these bills, if passed, would have dire consequences for the internet as a whole. Take ACTION. Contact your senator and tell them you oppose PIPA and any efforts to stifle freedom of expression. Likewise, you should contact your representative and tell them to oppose SOPA.
The legislation has been a priority for entertainment companies, publishers, pharmaceutical companies and other industry groups who say it is critical to curbing online piracy, which they believe costs them billions of dollars a year.
protests blanketed the Internet, turning Wikipedia and other popular websites dark for 24 hours. Google, Facebook, Twitter and others protested the proposed legislation but did not shut down.
The protest had quick results: several sponsors of the legislation, including senators Roy Blunt, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, John Boozman and Marco Rubio, have withdrawn their support.
In a brief statement on Friday, Reid said there was no reason why concerns about the legislation cannot be resolved. He offered no new date for the vote.
There are already alternatives in the works.
Senator Ron Wyden introduced a bill last month that he said “meets the same publicly stated goals as SOPA or Protect IP without causing massive damage to the Internet.”
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