Friday, January 20, 2012

SOPA and PIPA: Bills postponed indefinitely

SOPA and PIPA: Bills postponed indefinitely

Just 48 hours after an Internet-wide protest "blackout," congressional leaders have indefinitely postponed the SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills.

Democratic majority leader Senator Harry Reid made the announcement this afternoon via Twitter, the microblogging service that was instrumental in getting the word out about the bills in the first place.

While the voting on the bills has been killed for now, the underlying issues will still be fiercely debated and will likely come back in another form later. Says Reid (using Twitter shortening and slang): "There's no reason that legitimate issues raised about PROTECT IP can't be resolved. Counterfeiting & piracy cost 1000s of jobs yearly. Americans rightfully expect to be fairly compensated 4 their work. I'm optimistic that we can reach compromise on PROTECT IP in coming week."

Republican rep Lamar Smith, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, called off his plans to draft a version of the anti-piracy act: "The committee remains committed to finding a solution to the problem of online piracy that protects American intellectual property and innovation. The House Judiciary Committee will postpone consideration of the legislation until there is wider agreement on a solution."

After details of the bills came to light just a couple of months ago, the Internet has been instrumental in their demise. Major tech companies/sites like Google, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, eBay and Wikipedia all panned the bills and began campaigns to educate their users on the perils of SOPA. Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon said lawmakers collected 14 million names from citizens who wanted to protest the vote.

American freedom from censorship lives to fight another day. Thank you to everyone who contacted their local representative or participated in blackouts.

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