Friday, January 20, 2012
Following Wednesday’s internet protest blackout, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced on Friday that the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) had been postponed indefinitely.
“There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved. Counterfeiting 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, or 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.”
Reid’s announcement comes just one day after a whip count by Open Congress revealed a mass of Senators had turned against PIPA after the Internet’s first major, coordinated blackout on Wednesday resulted in millions to contact their members of Congress to demand the bill be scrapped. It takes 41 votes to stop a bill from moving through the Senate, and so far 38 members are either confirmed “No” votes, or are leaning toward a “No” on SOPA/PIPA.
Oddly, it is Republican lawmakers who pulled their support from the bill, including one of the bill’s original sponsor Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) while Democrats held fast in their support. They include Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who’s accepted nearly $1 million dollars from pro-SOPA/PIPA groups and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) who’s accepted $777,383 from PIPA-supporting special interest groups.
Other spineless Democrats who continue to voice their support for SOPA and PIPA includes: Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO).
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is one of the most prominent supporters of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which drew massive protests from sites like Wikipedia and Google on Wednesday. Google reported that over 4 million people signed their anti-piracy petition on Wednesday.
At last night’s presidential debate in South Carolina, the four remaining Republican candidates denounced the Protect IP Act.
It appears that for now, the internet is safe.