By The Open Globe, Reprinted With Permission By The Raleigh Telegram
WASHINGTON DC – Several major US politicians who had supported the anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA publicly stated on last week that they no longer back the legislation, as an estimated 7,000 websites were shuttered in protest of the bills on Wednesday, January 18th.
Eight senators and congressmen said that they no longer support the bills, including two co-sponsors of PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act), the Senate version of the better-known SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act).
PIPA co-sponsers Marco Rubio and Roy Blunt were joined in the Senate defection by Orrin Hatch and Ben Cardin; all but Cardin, a Democrat, are Republicans. In the House of Representatives, Republicans Ben Quayle, Lee Terry, Dennis Ross and Democrat Tim Holden said they had dropped their support for SOPA.
Rubio said in a statement on his Facebook page that he has “heard legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government’s power to impact the Internet.”
In the Senate, PIPA is scheduled to go to vote on January 24th. Whether it has enough support to pass is now in question, as there are less than 40 co-sponsors of the bill in a 100-person chamber. SOPA progress has temporarily halted and work is planned to resume in February, according to Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith.
Wednesday also saw an estimated 7,000 or more websites at least partially shut down to protest SOPA/PIPA. Some major sites like Wikipedia, WordPress and Reddit shut down entirely, while others, like Google and Wired, placed black censored bars over parts of their homepages.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which represents Hollywood film companies and has been a consistent supporter of the SOPA/PIPA legislation, said that the websites’ actions were “irresponsible stunts.” The MPAA’s leader, former Senator Chris Dodd, said that the blackouts were an “irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them [involved websites] for information.”
The US Chamber of Commerce also made a statement of support for the bills, saying that they are “two pieces of legislation that are narrowly tailored and commercially reasonable for taking an effective swipe at the business models of rogue sites.” ::
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: http://www.theopenglobe.org