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SOPA/PIPA Dead ...For Now.

January 20, 2012 - by Donny Shaw

Following a day of unprecedented online protest, the web censorship bills in Congress, SOPA and PIPA, have officially been tabled. “In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act (PIPA)," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced this morning.

SOPA in the House was put on hold as well. “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,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman and SOPA sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith. The SOPA mark-up was scheduled to resume on Feb. 18th, but it has now officially been postponed indefinitely.

Just weeks ago, these bills were considered virtually untouchable by everyone who follows Congress. The bipartisan support for the bills, both within members of Congress and among special-interest groups, was deeper than just about any other bill proposed this session. The best description of how the game shifted comes from MPAA Chairman (and former senator) Chris Dodd himself:

By Mr. Dodd’s account, no Washington player can safely assume that a well-wired, heavily financed legislative program is safe from a sudden burst of Web-driven populism.

“This is altogether a new effect,” Mr. Dodd said, comparing the online movement to the Arab Spring. He could not remember seeing “an effort that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically” in the last four decades, he added.

In other words, the political establishment has been forced to recognize that even the best revolving-door connections and the most obscene financial investments in political campaigns do not necessarily top a united public armed with the means to communicate freely and directly on the internet. Until now, this really, truly was not clear as far as it applies to legislative battles in the U.S. Congress.

For sure, Congress and the entertainment industry will bring these bills back to the table again. The entertainment industry desperately wants special rules that allow them to legally censor online speech in order to defend their legacy business model. By all accounts they are more focused and more invested on getting Congress to change the rules than they are on updating their business and improving their content to compete in 2012 and beyond. Don’t expect the threat of SOPA/PIPA-style web censorship to go away any time soon.

The corporations pushing bills like SOPA and PIPA are dead set on limiting the rule of law as it applies to the internet. For the moment, we’ve succesfully defended the rule of law. But to ensure that we win in the future, we need to use this victory as a starting point for a pro-active movement in support of online freedom. The internet is an essential element of the public sphere; we need to consider our values and work to make sure the internet reflects them.

Pictured above is PIPA sponsor Sen. Patrick Leahy [D, VT].

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Comments

Displaying 1-30 of 79 total comments.

kj_ca 01/20/2012 6:36pm

The internet needs to do what the scuba-diving industry WORLDWIDE already does: self-regulate and self-police.

If you ever try to rent scuba equipment anywhere in the world and you are not asked for Proof of Certification issued by an authorized organization that you have received training on how to safely dive, my advice to you is simple: RUN. You do NOT want to trust your life to the equipment such a place would provide.

If a site violates a basic standard of legal behavior (regardless of country) – and the ’net self-regulates & kills it, then no legitimate government will have a valid excuse for policing the internet.

This worked for scuba – one of the least government-regulated activities in the world today – because it chose to self-regulate and self-police.

The internet is perfectly capable of doing the same thing – if they care to. And all these dramatic “blackout days” to fight stupid legislation written by clueless power-grabbing idiots would be unnecessary.

shadowAaron34 01/20/2012 6:21pm

Yes! We now have not only a notable win against SOPA and PIPA, but to other bills similer to this aswell.(im looking at you, Bill S.978) But dont relax yet, for these bills may be down, but they are not out. The one thing we can do now is to make sure this never happens again. But inspite of this we see that we can best any of these bills if we ALL pitch in. the reason is because this caused the LARGEST Internet protest in history! Keep it up all you Internet Protecters! :D

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bigbangbilly 01/23/2012 12:06am

Technically it is asleep not dead as it is put on hold indefinably as future generations can reawaken it.

bdubya 01/21/2012 3:54am

well, hopefully we can count on this guy not being re-elected now.

retched 01/20/2012 10:29pm
in reply to kj_ca Jan 20, 2012 6:36pm

It also worked to some extent the video game entertainment industry too. So self-policing does have a place.

The question then becomes, how to start one.

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moadeep 01/23/2012 6:32am

My question is, how does this affect ACTA? Or does it?

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in reply to kerri311i Feb 06, 2012 10:05pm

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leesaken26 08/07/2012 6:11am
in reply to shadowAaron34 Jan 20, 2012 6:21pm

I have almost not aware of all these… but its good that atleast i m having some kind of knowledge on this .
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mouseissue 01/25/2012 3:40pm

As long as there are corporations out there with deep pockets that give generous campaign contributions, SOPA/PIPA and other similar efforts will continue.

All we can do is continue to let the politicians know that if they want our votes, don’t step on our toes (i.e. rights & freedoms).

My bet is, after the November elections, SOPA/PIPA (or similar)will rear it’s ugly head again… Mark my words!

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fastwor1k 03/21/2012 10:20am
in reply to shadowAaron34 Jan 20, 2012 6:21pm

Technically it is not dead asleep as web design pune it is put on hold as undefinable future generations to wake up.

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in reply to shadowAaron34 Jan 20, 2012 6:21pm

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in reply to fastwor1k Mar 13, 2012 12:01pm

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leesaken26 06/27/2012 8:23am
in reply to shadowAaron34 Jan 20, 2012 6:21pm

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