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Even as hardliners entrench, internet protest pushes many Congress people to choose self preservation

Today was a remarkable day on the internet.  Indeed, a massive protest that consisted of editorials on some sites, full blackouts on others, a deluge of social media/microblog complaints, and even some good old fashioned phone calling (to the extent that some phone lines went down today) appears to be on the verge of bringing the controversial Orwellian "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) (H.R. 3261) in the House and "PROTECT IP Act" (PIPA) (S.968) in the Senate to their true death.

SOPA had few friends -- particularly due to outlandish provisions like lengthy prison sentences for petty streaming, takedowns of sites whose users post URLs to infringing content (note: not even posting the content itself), and DNS takedowns of all sites hosted in the same block as an infringer.

But SOPA did have one powerful friend -- big media.  Media powerhouses like News Corp. (NWS) poured tens of millions into funding the campaign.  Our summary of analysis by Maplight indicated that 10 percent of the election costs of (all) active Senators were paid by big media companies lobbying for SOPA and similar laws.  Another helpful breakdown of the numerous payouts is given here by Propublica.

Some thought SOPA was dead when top House Republican, House Oversight Chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) blasted the bill, and President Obama's advisors hinted at the threat of veto.  But PIPA's proponents hardly flinched and SOPA's backers agreed vowed to revive it in February, anyways, and force the President's hand.

That was the position of those backers, at least, until they got smacked with one of the most focused demonstrations of populist anger that American has seen in the internet era.

Soon the Representatives and Senators who sponsored the bill were dropping their support.

The original list of supporters was:

SOPA Supporters -- original
[Image Source: Propublica]

But after today at least four Senators and two Representatives have abandoned their support, likely out of fear of what it might do to their election prospects.  The critters fleeing the sinking SOPA/PIPA ship are:
SOPA/PIPA supporters -- post protest

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), one of those looking to belated retract his sponsorship comments:

After listening to the concerns on both sides of the debate over the PROTECT IP Act, it is simply not ready for prime time and both sides must continue working together to find a better path forward. Despite the concerns about the unintended consequences of this legislation, the Senate remains on a path to consider this bill next week. Rushing something with such potential for far-reaching consequences is something I cannot support and that's why I will not only vote against moving the bill forward next week but also remove my cosponsorship of the bill.

Add'l Sources: [1][2][3][4][5]

While it might be tempting to chastise these individuals while they're down, a better thought is to head over to their Facebooks or Twitters to thank them for make a decision (albeit forced) to put the American people and economic prosperity above a small coalition of well-heeled special interests.  After all, as you can see there's plenty of SOPA/PIPA supporters digging in their heels and entrenching for the fight ahead.

That said, one can only expect this is the start and more of their fellow Congressional creatures will follow in suit, panickedly abandoning the bills, now that the American public has smelled a rat.

We will endeavor to keep this list and the numbers who have abandoned SOPA/PIPA up to date.

It appears to be Wikipedia that was the straw that broke the camel's back, possibly.  While readers at DailyTech and elsewhere are well versed in the issues with SOPA/PIPA, the blackout of the ubiquitous Wikipedia crossed over into the "People Magazine" crowd -- members of the American public who typically show little interest in politics.

Note some brave souls in Congress were even inspired to join the list of opposers to the bill -- including Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.) who boldly writes on Facebook:

On Wednesday, January 18, I will join others across the Internet in a 24-hour “blackout” to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate. These bills give the federal government unprecedented power to censor Internet content and will stifle the free flow of information and ideas. In protest, I have changed my profile picture and will temporarily disable your ability to post independent content on my Wall (although you still may comment under this post). Demand that Congress and the President keep the Internet open and free. Please borrow my profile pic, share this message, and contact your Representatives and Senators in Congress to urge them to protect your right to free speech by opposing SOPA and PIPA.

Here is a list of those who previously opposed the bill:

SOPA/PIPA opponents
Note the opposition of (R) Presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

SOPA/PIPA aren't dead yet, so opponents will need to keep up the heat until the bills are fully removed from the Congressional dockets.  And even if that happens, people should take this as a wake up call, both at their own power and at the importance of keeping an eye on these shifty individuals who accept hundreds of millions in campaign donations yearly from biased sources to gain their office.

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RE: Boycott?
By FITCamaro on 1/18/2012 7:46:48 PM , Rating: -1
This will likely be the case for many Republicans in the list.

Democrat voters though rarely even read about their candidates. So they'll just check the box like good little drones.

RE: Boycott?
By Ryrod on 1/18/2012 9:43:03 PM , Rating: 5
Democrat voters though rarely even read about their candidates. So they'll just check the box like good little drones.

The same can be said about Republicans. Individuals who identify with parties vote the party line a vast majority of the time, regardless of the party identification. While it is not as prevalent as it was in the 1950s, party identification is the single best indicator for identifying which candidate the individual will vote for a majority of the time.

This is another big reason why you hear all about courting the independents during the election cycle. The independents are the ones that typically are the most knowledgeable and critical about the candidate's professed positions at the time of the election. So to fix your statement it should read "Democrat/Republican voters though, rarely even read about their candidates. So they'll just check the box like good little drones."

I'm not really sure why you are trying bait people into a Democrat vs. Republican argument anyways. There's no real reason for it.

RE: Boycott?
By Nfarce on 1/18/2012 11:11:26 PM , Rating: 1
The national Independent voters are just confused on what they stand for overall with regards to a majority of the issues they believe in. Even blood relatives don't agree 100% with each other, husband and wife for that matter.

In any event I know my core beliefs which is what we all do in voting straight R or D on the bigger scale of Washington (President, Senate Rep and House Rep(s). Local issues may be different. I vote R in Washington but have voted for a few Ds in state and local elections because the D candidate was the better choice for my beliefs.

RE: Boycott?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/19/2012 10:41:00 AM , Rating: 2
Everyone talks about these "Independents" but who are they? Where?

Consistently poll after poll shows that 40% of the voters identify themselves as being center-right, 20% of the voters calling themselves liberal or very liberal, and 20% being minority voters (who usually vote Democrat).

The other 20% is either undecided or just doesn't vote.

So is that where our Independents are? With roughly 40% of the voters identifying with Republicans, and 40% Democrat, is the 20% left the "Independents" both sides fight so hard for?

It seems to me that the most successful campaigns are ones who pander to the mainstream base of their party, the power base. When candidates start trying to be everything for everyone, to get this marginal and undefined "independent" voter, that's when they start getting into trouble and lose focus and start to stray *cough* McCain *cough* .

RE: Boycott?
By idiot77 on 1/19/2012 9:18:16 AM , Rating: 1
Wow, you really think that?

Explain Bachman then. Or Palin. Now that's just checking the R. We don't even have anything approaching that level of crazy here on the Democratic side.

We don't run losers over and over and over again until they get nominations. How may times did Regean, Nixon, and McCain run?

The Republican party has no bench, at all. That's why you have the losers that you do running right now and it's not even going to be hard for Obama to win again. The one rational human up there, Huntsman, split when he realized that he'd either had to start lying or become a winger.

I don't want to even hear your BS on this one. At least we get rid of losers in the Democratic party.

RE: Boycott?
By invidious on 1/19/2012 9:29:20 AM , Rating: 1
Explain Bachman then. Or Palin. Now that's just checking the R. We don't even have anything approaching that level of crazy here on the Democratic side.
lolololololol Polosi.

RE: Boycott?
By cmdrdredd on 1/19/2012 7:16:32 PM , Rating: 2
Reid, Polosi, Kennedy, Kerry, Gore...none of those guys were/are wacko?

Maybe you need to go visit the nice people who let you stay in the padded rooms.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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