Panicked Congress Critters Scurry Off SOPA/PIPA Ship After Massive Protest
January 18, 2012 5:42 PM
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"
) in the House and "PROTECT IP Act" (PIPA) (
) 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
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
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:
[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:
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), one of those looking to belated retract his sponsorship
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: [
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
that was the straw that broke the camel's back, possibly. While readers at
and elsewhere are well versed in the issues with SOPA/PIPA, the blackout of the ubiquitous
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
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:
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.
"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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