Following overwhelming pressure from blackout protests and frustrated Internet users, Rep. Lamar Smith, author of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) announced on Friday consideration of the bill is being postponed.
In a statement, Smith said he’s “heard from the critics” and that he takes “seriously their concern 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. The House Judiciary Committee will postpone consideration of the legislation until there is wider agreement on a solution.”
In addition, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid called off a scheduled vote for PIPA via his Twitter. Even still, Reid is committed to bringing the anti-piracy bill to an agreeable conclusion. “There’s no reason that legitimate issues raised about PROTECT IP can’t be resolved. I’m optimistic that we can reach compromise on PROTECT IP in the coming weeks.”
Both anti-piracy bills were met with wide bipartisan support upon their inception, but millions of Internet users disagreed with what they were trying to accomplish. Perhaps the biggest backers of the two bills were content publishers like Hollywood studios, recording companies and book publishers. Opposers like Google, Facebook and Reddit see the bills as unnecessary censorship, saying they would stifle creativity on the Internet.
A number of lawmakers yesterday announced they were withdrawing SOPA and PIPA support, but not everyone is reconsidering their stance. Former Sen. Chris Dodd and current MPAA CEO has released a statement blasting congress for postponing the two bills.
“As a consequence of failing to act, there will continue to be a safe haven for foreign thieves; American jobs will continue to be lost; and consumers will continue to be exposed to fraudulent and dangerous products peddled by foreign criminals.”
For now, we’re at the eye of the anti-piracy storm, but don’t expect the issue to stay quiet for long. We’ve already seen what a vengeful Internet is capable of when they are in disagreement. Should SOPA and/or PIPA pass in the future, I’d hate to see what the backlash would be.