Stunned By SOPA Backlash, Senate Leader Cancels PIPA Vote

sopa-pipa-minecraftCongress and the Hollywood/media lobby was taken aback by this week’s massive anti-SOPA protest. In light of that, and reconsideration by several of the bill’s sponsors and high profile supporters in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has canceled a vote on SOPA-companion measure PROTECT I.P. Act or “PIPA.”

Here’s the text of Reid’s statement, released about an hour ago:

“In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act.

“There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved. Counterfeiting and piracy cost the American economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs each year, with the movie industry alone supporting over 2.2 million jobs. We must take action to stop these illegal practices. We live in a country where people rightfully expect to be fairly compensated for a day’s work, whether that person is a miner in the high desert of Nevada, an independent band in New York City, or a union worker on the back lots of a California movie studio.

“I admire the work that Chairman Leahy has put into this bill. I encourage him to continue engaging with all stakeholders to forge a balance between protecting Americans’ intellectual property, and maintaining openness and innovation on the internet. We made good progress through the discussions we’ve held in recent days, and I am optimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks.”

Sponsors of PIPA and SOPA and their media and content-industry supporters see the bills as an effort to stop foreign-based websites from facilitating massive intellectual property piracy and theft of American movies and other content. Those in the internet industry see instead a “government takeover of the web” or an ignorant effort to impose rules and penalties that would “break the web.”

There will now be an effort to modify and reintroduce some version of this legislation that addresses piracy but tries to avoid the outcry that SOPA and PIPA caused. However, even without SOPA and PIPA, it appears that the US is going to pursue a stepped up law-enforcement campaign against sites that enable IP theft. A most recent case-in-point is yesterday’s  “seizure” of Megaupload, together with its domains and assets. The site was accused of profiting from and facilitating piracy.

We may thus see a “de facto” implementation of key provisions of SOPA and PIPA by the FBI, even if they’re not formally enacted by Congress.

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Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Legal | Legal: Copyright & Trademark


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • CED

    I admit that I did not fully understand how dumb congresscritters from both parties are until this.

  • Michael Martinez

    Yes.  As I have been pointing out for weeks, everything that anti-SOPA activists have claimed would end freedom of expression and destroy the Internet has already been “law on the books” here in the US — and has in fact been applied in previous situations (as when 84,000 sites were accidentally blocked last year) — and here we all are, still on the Internet, still freely expressing ourselves.

    The anti-SOPA crusade was based on lies and nonsense.  You won’t go to jail or have to take down your site if someone drops a link to an illegal Website on it; you won’t go to jail if you upload a Michael Jackson video; blocking Websites in the DNS system works very effectively, especially if they are on shared servers as simply going to the IP address itself only shows you the first site listed in the server’s domain table; relax, you silly Chicken Littles.

    The safe harbor provisions written into each law have been tested already and they have worked just fine for all the years this legal language has been used.

    You all got hysterical over nothing, you wasted your time and resources, and you blocked the passage of laws that could have helped you take down scraper sites by blocking their revenues. 

  • Matthew Pack

    Excellent result. I’m glad they’re listening. Now how do we do something about the pending EU Cookie Law! I hate x10 things like this if people don’t want to be cookied then turn off cookies, simple. Could HTML 5 browsers and the rise of storing data client side in the browser be a way round this something I’ve yet to figure out.

  • Anonymous

    So much for SOFA being defeated, LOL The US government has decided and implemented all the provisions of that bill without law. Might makes right! US declares war on file sharing sites. Raided Megavideo with arrests in outside the country. Others are ducking for cover. Seems the motion picture industry has excerpted the will of the people, government has been bought. Note the people are nuts, care nothing for fair use. The feds are not happy with killing the economy yet, still some reserves not dead. Woe is the internet if Uncle Sam succeeds!!!

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