SOPA protest shows political muscle of tech community
More than 10,000 websites went dark in support of the protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its companion bill in the senate, Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).
And it looks like the geeks have congress running scared. CNN:
Some lawmakers are rethinking their support of controversial anti-piracy bills that led to some websites shutting down in protest.
The protest was in response to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill, a piece of proposed legislation that is working its way through Congress. A Senate committee approved a similar bill in May called the Protect IP Act (PIPA), which is now pending before the full Senate.
The protest seemed to change the minds of lawmakers, including those that had strongly backed the bills in the past.
"We can find a solution that will protect lawful content. But this bill is flawed & that's why I'm withdrawing my support. #SOPA #PIPA," Republican Sen. Roy Blunt wrote on his official Twitter page.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who was an initial co-sponsor of PIPA, reversed his position.
A total of 13 GOP senators have now come out opposed to PIPA, which places the bill in jeopardy. The number of co-sponsors is now below 40 - far short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a certain filibuster.
Several House co-sponsors have also dropped their support. And Darrell Issa, Chairman of the Oversight Committee, has introduced his own anti-piracy bill that he hopes can find the middle ground between doing nothing, and changing the internet forever.
I noted in my FrontPage.com article appearing this morning that the tech community is flexing its political muscle:
In fact, the tech community, not known for its political advocacy, has flexed its muscles in this fight. Millions of signatures were gathered for online petitions against the legislation. House and senate websites slowed to a crawl as traffic doubled. Phone calls poured into lawmakers' offices. Emails were so numerous, that congressional inboxes were full and servers were running at full capacity. The onslaught took many on the Hill by surprise. Some of the response is clearly overreaction, but there are enough awful provisions in both bills to justify a strong response.
House Republican Lamar Smith, sponsor of SOPA, says he's determined to bring the measure to the floor. It remains to be seen if many of the more onerous provisions in the legislation will make it into a final version of the bill.