Can SOPA and PIPA be stopped? It appears that Wednesday’s online blackout against the piracy legislation has changed the minds of several senators. The House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) lost the support of two of its cosponsors, Ben Quayle (R-AZ) and Lee Terry (R-NB) along with Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) and Rep. Tim Holden (D-PA) . The Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA) lost Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Sen. John Boozman (R-AK), Sen. Roy Blunt (D-MO) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD).
The online protest against the bills was hard to ignore. Thousands of websites like Wikipedia (who took their entire U.S. site offline), Mozilla, Google and Facebook participated. One has to wonder how many of these senator’s had their assistants or secretaries screaming at them after trying to get information for their bosses upcoming events only to find a blank screen looking back at them? Not to mention their wives calling from home complaining that Junior can’t do his homework without his Wiki!
Sen. DeMint tweeted that SOPA and PIPA were “misguided bills that will cause more harm than good.” He said, “When protecting intellectual property rights, we must not undermine free speech, threaten economic growth, or impose burdensome regulations.” Twitter was the perfect place for these senator’s to get their messages out. It was going wild with tweets against the bills while “SOPA” and “SOPA blackout” were in the top 10 search terms on Google by the middle of the morning Wednesday.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and author of SOPA, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), said Wikipedia’s blackout was a “publicity stunt” and “Perhaps during the blackout, Internet users can look elsewhere for an accurate definition of online piracy.” Perhaps it’s the House and Senate that need to re-define their bills rather than attempting to give the U.S. government control over the internet?
Obviously, most of these senators changed their minds because of pressure from the people. Some of them were unmovable on the issue just days ago. With all the political unrest lately, it’s rather nice to see that the people actually do still have the power to affect our government. The Senate will vote on PIPA on Tuesday and the House is trying to set their SOPA vote for next month.