Updates can be found at the end of the story.
A shocking twist has developed in the soap opera of the SOPA bill. During Wednesday’s internet blackout, the overwhelming amount of protest left little doubt that the bill was living on faulty life support. One by one, those who championed SOPA or its sibling PIPA, such as Sen. Marco Rubio, Rep. Lee Terry, and Sen. Harry Reid, dropped their prior endorsements. The turn of the tide really became apparent however when CNN posed a question during last night’s republican debate regarding SOPA. Each candidate visibly shuddered and did not so much as want to touch the parameters of the bill with a ten foot pole.
So what was Rep. Lamar Smith, the lead sponsor of the bill, to do? Rather than giving a furious tirade in front of television cameras as some of his peers did – he experienced a change of heart and released the following statement admitting defeat of the current version of the SOPA bill.
I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. 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.
Smith went on to continue shedding light on how significantly foreign piracy damages U.S. enterprises and how standing idle is not helping the situation. Critics (including ourselves) have argued that while the intention to combat the issue of piracy is noble, it will come at the expense of success and growth for budding web entrepreneurs/entertainers. Hoping to convey his support for progress, Smith ended his press release with what could be interpreted as an olive branch.
We welcome input from all organizations and individuals who have an honest difference of opinion about how best to address this widespread problem. The Committee remains committed to finding a solution to the problem of online piracy that protects American intellectual property and innovation.
SOPA being demolished and PIPA having one foot in the grave is definitely a positive result — but it may not be enough. Just yesterday the high profile FBI crackdown on internet storage giant Megaupload (justified or not) was conducted without any due process. For now there may not be a law on the books for the SOPApocalypse to occur but we are well on the way towards the end times.
Perhaps the Mayans were right. 2012 could potentially be the end of the world as we know it…the World Wide Web that is. We are coming to a crossroads where corporate gluttony results in the personal freedoms of Americans being put up for auction to the highest bidder.
I do indeed believe artists and innovators deserve their fair share of the profits. So lets ensure they are the ones reaping what they have sown and not the crooks masquerading as executives.
Nice work Internet. My hat’s off to you. Poetess out!
UPDATE January 20, 2012 03:42 PM PST:
The ESA and its members have officially announced their withdrawal of support for the recently deceased SOPA bill. In a public statement they expressed their motivation to do so as follows.
From the beginning, ESA has been committed to the passage of balanced legislation to address the illegal theft of intellectual property found on foreign rogue sites. Although the need to address this pervasive threat to our industry’s creative investment remains, concerns have been expressed about unintended consequences stemming from the current legislative proposals.