SOPA and PIPA appear to be temporarily shelved, but not dead, as Congress tries to figure out the best way to fight online piracy.
controversial Stop Online Piracy and Protect IP acts have been temporarily
shelved as congressional lawmakers figure out their next move.
Senate will postpone the vote on PIPA that was originally scheduled for Jan.
24, House Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Jan. 20. He made the
decision after weeks of intense lobbying by technology companies and industry
associations opposed to the bill, which culminated in a one-day Internet strike
led by online site Wikipedia. Google collected over 4 million signatures on its
petition protesting the bill.
House Judiciary Committee will postpone markup on SOPA and "revisit the
approach" on how to stop online piracy, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the
committee's chairman and lead sponsor of the bill, said in a statement shortly
after Reid's announcement.
have heard from the critics, and I take seriously their concerns regarding
proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy," Smith said.
will work with copyright owners and Internet companies to develop a consensus
on the best approach to stopping piracy on the Web, Smith said. The bills
themselves are not dead, as there is still a possibility lawmakers will move
ahead after making some modifications.
is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot
be resolved," Reid said.
by software giants, the recording and movie industry, and pharmaceutical
companies, the bills originally seemed unstoppable and guaranteed to pass in both
houses. The Senate Judiciary had unanimously approved PIPA in May, and SOPA
appeared to be moving quickly through the committee. Technology experts pointed
out that some of the provisions in the bills would affect core Internet
architecture. After this week's online protests, several prominent backers of
both bills withdrew their support, stating that Congress had to examine the
technical issues in greater detail.
of the Internet deserve credit for pressing advocates of SOPA and PIPA to back
away from an effort to ram through controversial legislation," Rep.
Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said.
introduced an alternative to SOPA, the Online Protection and Enforcement of
Digital Trade Act, or OPEN, in the House, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.,
introduced the Senate version on Jan 18, the day of the Wikipedia blackout.
OPEN offers more protection to the sites accused of hosting pirated content and
improves the enforcement process. Under OPEN, copyright holders would have to
bring cases before the U.S. International Trade Commission, an independent
agency that handles trademark infringement and other trade disputes.
of Internet users let it be known that their rights and use of the Internet
should not be easily tampered with, and Congress has wisely signaled it has
heard their concerns," said Ed Black, CEO of the Computer and
Communications Industry Association.
Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the main sponsor of PIPA, called the decision to postpone
the vote a "mistake." He plans to still send a bill addressing online
piracy "to the president's desk this year."
"day will come when the senators who forced this move will look back and
realize they made a knee-jerk reaction to a monumental problem," Leahy