Both the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Lamar Smith, and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid withdrew their votes in support of the Stop Online Privacy Act and the Protect IP Act Friday morning.
This postponement (yes, it’s just postponed) is a major win for those of us who enjoy the animosity of the internet without
seriously abusing it. Wednesday did seem to make a difference.
The delay in PIPA and Sopa came mere hours after the home of Megaupload.com’s CEO, Kim Dotcom, was raided in New Zealand due to illegal content on servers in Virginia, owned and opporated by Dotcom. The man had more money than the Pope and, in an effort to prove that, even had a black Rolls Royce with the vanity plate “GOD” on it, which was seized in the raid. Not very humble and this raid was certainly not good for those opposed to PIPA and SOPA, as it is millions of illegal downloads like that which occurred on Megaupload that caused the government to write this bill.
In regards to the SOPA/PIPA delay Lamar Smith’s statement was:
“It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., was disappointed in the postponement stating:
“The day will come when the Senators who forced this move will look back and realize they made a knee-jerk reaction to a monumental problem…Somewhere in China today, in Russia today, and in many other countries that do not respect American intellectual property, criminals who do nothing but peddle in counterfeit products and stolen American content are smugly watching how the United States Senate decided it was not even worth debating how to stop the overseas criminals from draining our economy.”
While that is a very valiant statement, it does not take into account the astronomical cost that would go into policing websites, a financial burden that many smaller internet sites could simply not afford. Not to mention that with this passing, even more restrictions would most certainly be down the pipeline. The internet is a place for all of us, not just big business. The internet is not a government policed corporation and I certainly don’t want it to become one.
This isn’t over yet. But it’s important to note that the black out on Wednesday did, in fact, have an impact. It’s important people contact their congress people from time to time to remind them that we elect them, and that they serve our voice.