The voluntary protest blackout of major internet sites has caused the US Congress to indefinitely postpone voting on their two bills: Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
The victory however is only a temporary one; lawmakers hope to pen alternative legislation that will prove acceptable to both the entertainment industry – deeply concerned by falling revenues – and the legislation’s opponents, most of whom are from Silicon Valley and the Web, who consider the bills to be ‘censorship of the internet in line with that of China and Russia’.
The announcement follows on from a massive Internet campaign where companies closed off access to their sites including Wikipedia and Reddit. Facebook remained open for business but owner Mark Zuckerberg expressed full opposition to the bill being put before Congress.
The entertainment industry reacted angrily to the news of the SOPA/PIPA bill being dropped – Hollywood moguls are vowing to cease donating money to the campaign to re-elect Barack Obama due to his anti-SOPA stance.
One anonymous Hollywood insider said: “God knows how much money we’ve given to Obama and the Democrats and yet they’re not supporting our interests. There’s been no greater supporters of him than we’ve been from the first day and the first fundraisers continuing until he was elected. We all were pleased. And, at its heart institutionally, Hollywood supports the Democrats. Now we need the administration to support us.”
Barrett Brown, founder of the Project PM online collective, opposing the legislation said:
“Even without SOPA having been passed yet, the federal government always had tremendous power to do some of the things that they want to do. So if this is what can occur without SOPA being passed, imagine what can occur after SOPA is passed. This is a war they plan on fighting until the end and so do we.”
The effective killing-off of the legislation gives the Internet and its advocates a first and major victory against SOPA and PIPA but the war is set to wage as the entertainment industry is certain to continue its fight to introduce tougher laws to prevent revenue loss but the first victory goes to the Internet.
Senator Chuck Schumer tweeted, “You’ve been heard. #PIPA has been pulled so we can find a better solution.”