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PIPA, SOPA bills postponed after protests

updated 10:50 am EST, Fri January 20, 2012

PIPA put on hold after stiff opposition

Both Congress and the Senate have delayed votes on their joint controversial Senate majority leader Harry Reid has stated that he decided to at least delay the vote on the controversial Protect IP Act (PIPA). He explained it as a reaction to "recent events," a euphemism for the widescale protests that turned numerous Senators against the bill.

The official didn't want to rule it out altogether, acknowledging "legitimate issues" with the bill but raising the specter of possible job losses as making it imperative that some form of law was passed. "Americans rightfully expect to be fairly compensated 4 their work," he said.

He didn't give an estimate as to when the bill might get a new vote, if at all, suggesting to some that the postponement was a pretext for backing away without appearing to drop the bill too quickly to its MPAA and RIAA backers.

Congressman Lamar Smith, the primary supporter of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), has simultaneously decided to "postpone consideration" until a point at which there was a "wider agreement" on ending piracy. Like Reid, Smith didn't have a timetable for any resumption or a definition of what that agreement would be.

Senate support still leaned in favor of PIPA as of Thursday, at 37 in favor to 22 against, but was now much less of a majority than in the past. Its Congressional equivalent SOPA, however, now saw a vast majority of House representatives in opposition at 100 against to 26 in favor. The Obama administration has said it would likely veto the bills, at least as-is, under the claims that they would violate American principles and the concept of an open Internet.

The about-faces from Reid and Smith are also believed to have come now that they couldn't try to dismiss or sidestep concerns about PIPA and SOPA, as they had in the past. Both grassroots opposition and public campaigns by Google, Wikipedia, and thousands of others of sites are believed to have educated millions of Americans about the concerns of DNS-based censorship and lack of due process inherent to either bill. Activism on January 18, a planned day of action, was so high-pitched that it got 4.5 million petition signatures at Google alone and jammed the phone lines and websites of politicians who were in favor of either measure.

Much of the initial support for the bills had been leaning on the assumption that piracy was costing movie and music studios billions of dollars in lost potential sales and the job cuts that would presumably follow. A $6.1 billion figure sometimes trumpeted by the MPAA has been called into question as it was generated by an MPAA-commissioned study with secret formulas. The figure also counted international piracy regardless of where it was located, only some of which would even be covered by the SOPA or PIPA bills.

Arguments that media outlets were facing devastating losses from piracy rang hollow after album sales began climbing again in 2011. Movie theater revenue dropped, but it didn't necessarily lead to significant losses with discs and digital picking up some of the slack.

by MacNN Staff



  1. kimgh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Wakeup Call

    This is a nice wakeup call to "business as usual" Washington politicians of the power of the internet to protect itself from damage. It's really past time for some of those old fossils (and maybe some of the younger ones too...) to retire. The spectacle of lawmaking by the clueless is frightening; this is really a very good outcome.

    Nerds rule! But we need to remain vigilant: the copyright cartel will not rest because of this defeat. They almost certainly view it as nothing more than a temporary setback.

  1. aaanorton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sen8or Reid?

    Senate majority leader, Harry Reid really said "Americans rightfully expect to be fairly compensated 4 their work"? How do you know this? Did he do little quote fingers around the word "for"?
    In fact, from the link provided, Senator Reid actually said "We live in a country where people rightfully expect to be fairly compensated for a day’s work, whether that person is a miner in the high desert of Nevada, an independent band in New York City, or a union worker on the back lots of a California movie studio."
    If you're not going to bother reprinting his actual words, don't bother with the quote marks either. This is no longer a quote, just your slapdash reporting.

    This site is a joke. Isn't there an adult who should be keeping an eye on things here?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Wakeup call

    What they didn't anticipate was that the lobbyists they were listening to and getting money from would be overshouted by other people. They didn't count on other large companies being anti the policy.

  1. MXBrando

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Accuracy counts

    I agree with aaanorton's comments. If you are going to use quote marks, quote accurately. And, for God's sake, take an English class. The opening sentence doesn't make a lick of sense. And it opens with "Both Congress and the Senate...". The Senate is part of Congress. The other part is the House (of Representatives).

    This isn't mere pedantry. Glaring errors kill your credibility.

  1. SierraDragon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yup, temporary.

    That "They almost certainly view it as nothing more than a temporary setback" is correct. The pols are waiting for a time when attention is on something else. Count on it. They are bought and paid for, pretty much all of them, and they need to take care of the folks who buy them like the MPA represented by liar Chris Dodd.

    Although it sickens me, our USA system is _not_ a democracy, except in theory. Our US is a pay-for-votes republic. And it has been getting worse for decades.

  1. TomSawyer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    SierraDragon is right

    All the beaurocrats are doing is shelving this thing until the public's collective back is turned then they'll ram it through Congress and the White House PDQ. Its a whole lot harder to get a law removed than inflicted on the people in the dark of the night. "Sorry its in place now so you'll just have to live with it...besides WE know whats best for YOU. Here, have some Kool-Aid."

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