SOPA and PIPA Stopped — Next, the OPEN ACT

It’s “Internet 1, Congress 0“:  In the wake of widespread online protest, the House and the Senate have stopped both the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in their tracks. Just this Friday morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that he has canceled next week’s Senate vote on PIPA, which is now indeed opposed by many of its co-sponsors. Shortly afterwards, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said that SOPA will not be taken up as planned and that legislators must “wait until there is wider agreement on a solution.”

Reid indeed acknowledged that ”recent events” — the blackout on Wikipedia and other sites including Reddit and the other protests involving an estimated 115,000 websites this past Wednesday — had played a role in his decision to postpone the vote.

PIPA sponsor Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, agreed to the change of course only “reluctantly,” painting a dire picture of how Chinese and Russian internet thieves “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.” Senators have caved into pressure, Leahy charged, and will one day rue their making a “knee-jerk reaction to a monumental problem.”

The Tech Community and Hollywood

There is no question online piracy is a problem. Tech companies including Google and Facebook had strongly objected to SOPA and PIPA, which granted the US Department of Justice the power to go after foreign websites offering illegal copies of movies, music and other content for free. Under these proposed laws, search engines would have had to eliminate links to such sites, while ad networks and companies that process payments would have been forbidden from doing business with them.  Tech companies have been arguing that, as currently written, both bills could curtail free speech and innovation on the internet by placing an “unreasonable burden on websites to police user-generated content,” with the result that perfectly legitimate websites could — as Wikipedia did on Wednesday — go dark. Last Saturday, the Obama administration expressed its concerns about how SOPA and PIPA could “[disrupt] the underlying architecture of the Internet.”

Hollywood, the music recording industry, book publishers and the United States Chamber of Commerce have all backed SOPA and PIPA, as a means to stop the “rampant piracy of American cultural wares” by websites overseas. Former Sen. Chris Dodd, head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), described the postponement of SOPA and PIPA as a sign that the US government is “failing to act” in the fight against online piracy while still allowing the Internet “to be a safe haven for foreign thieves.” Meanwhile, Dodd said, American jobs are being lost and consumers are in danger of being “exposed to fraudulent and dangerous products peddled by foreign criminals.” But in an interview with the New York Times on Thursday, Dodd seemed to “raise the white flag,” acknowledging that the MPAA was “taken aback by the mass online protests against the bills” and calling for Hollywood and the tech community to “meet and hammer out their differences in a White House summit.”

Next Up: The OPEN ACT

As Don Reisinger says on CNET, both Reid and Smith remain “committed to pushing some kind of anti-piracy legislation through Congress.” Reid said in a statement:

“There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved. Counterfeiting and piracy cost the American economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs each year, with the movie industry alone supporting over 2.2 million jobs. We must take action to stop these illegal practices.”

Indeed, on the horizon is a related bill, the OPEN ACT, sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who have been “stalwart” critics of SOPA and PIPA. The OPEN ACT makes the International Trade Commission rather than the DOJ the enforcer for online piracy and also offers a narrower version of pirate websites. As Talking Points Memo points out, some are not sure that focusing on online piracy in particular is the right approach:

“Where we need to start is actually getting a ‘User’s Bill of Rights’ together for communication and sharing of culture,” [Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of Fight For the Future, an online advocacy non-profit] said. “We need to defend way people communicate online. Once we get that in place, then we can go forth from there.”

Cheng said her group is working on drafting a Internet User’s Bill of Rights at the moment.

Internet activists have claimed victory in the fight against SOPA and PIPA. But we need to focus equal scrutiny on the OPEN Act and, as Cheng says, ask if policing online piracy as these bills describe is in the best interests of all; in the best interests of keeping the internet the site of innovation, creativity and freedom of expression that we have come to know it to be.

Related Care2 Coverage

On the Heels of SOPA Protests, Feds Shut Down File-Sharing…

SOPA and PIPA Are Only a Skirmish

So Long, SOPA?


Photo by Ben Werdmuller von Elgg

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Ahren A.
Past Member 3 years ago

Only way to stop SOPA, PIPA or anything else like that is for the artists themselves to act.

If I were an artist making mega-zillions, it would be unconscionable for me to allow any of my fans to go to jail or be punished for downloading my music....

The ARTISTS needs to take a stand.

I would boycott any artists who sided with SOPA, PIPA or whatever other form they came up with.

Besides, with the internet, they could get the music out to their fans directly and cut out the middle man and still make mega-zillions...

Dorothy N.
Dorothy N.3 years ago

I'm actually losing internet for an undetermined while, (actually thought it'd be gone last month, and the month before, lol, but I'm moving anyway, as soon as I find a place I can sorta afford, so, whatever) and am having a lot of puter problems as well, so I'm just going to set the ball down here, and see if anyone runs with it.

And, yeah, this is a dead thread, but the issues still remain.

Dorothy N.
Dorothy N.3 years ago

First off - most people don't really have money to buy CDs or movies anymore, so they either download it or don't see/hear it.

Second, the ability to hear songs or see movies gives people an idea of what they want to buy when they DO finally have a little money to treat themselves.

I know I've recently heard some tunes by people producing the sort of pop-punk Greenday-type music I like that I'd never have heard of otherwise, since most of the stations out here don't much play that type of music, and I have their names written down for someday purchase.

But cracking down on people - especially with insane fines only a freaking corporation could pay, or even jail time for simply listening to tunes or watching a movie on their computer - obviously makes them not want to support these companies by buying from them, so they're losing even more business by attacking the fans, their prospective customers.

I'm thinking a mass boycott of all companies jumping in on the internet control thing would be an idea, in great part because my belief is that the real issue here is with control of information, so that, in example, polluter's and abuser's info can be made confidential and kept secret from the public.

A mass boycott would likely chase out, or at least discourage, the entertainment industry forming what I believe to be the excuse for internet censorship.

I'm actually losing internet for an undetermined while, (actually thought it'd be gone last month, and t

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener3 years ago

They'll all be stopped!

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

its a very controversial topic, but an invasion of rights

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin3 years ago

Already the MPAA via the FBI have people in countries all over the world prosecuted for downloading protected music and movies and books. Just a couple of weeks ago a 16 year old in Sweden was sentenced in court for downloading a few music and movie files. All due to intervention from the MPAA and their lackeys the feds. Sweden has a law called IPRED and the whole thing was passed through legislation pushed by the US Government and their backers in the movie and media industry. SOPA and PIPA would just be a copy of IPRED, but with more countries covered and more power for the private companies to push for harsher punishments and the closing of more websites. If SOPA, PIPA and, the lates Hollywood scam, the OPEN act gets passed, it'll be Goodbye Internet and Hello dictatorship!

Ferdinand G.
Ferdinand G.3 years ago

I will tell one more time, many has already hear this, but i will said it anyway...

"Counterfeiting and piracy cost the American economy billions of dollars" It just a crap figure

There a 2 product 'A', one 100$ genuie 'A1', the second a cheap imitation from some country 10$ 'A2'.. if ten 'A2' sold is there a loss of 1000$ economy????? who the idiot count like that (it maybe potential money but not meaning actual money)

Some people just doesn't have 100$ to spend, or either 100$ 'A1' not available to them...

Good luck for americans, u will need it looks how thing going so far....

Michael MacDonald

The problem was it was too wide reaching of legislation.
It would have created a whole bunch of problems if it were passed as is.

Besides that though,
you can't go to a store and find the game you want or the movie you want unless the only thing you're looking for is what's currently mainstream.

If the selection to choose from is this bad
and they wonder why everyone is downloading their media
maybe they should consider giving more selection in the stores
so people don't resort to downloading a game for example when they can't find the one they want.

I hear this again and again everyday from people who are angry about this
and I have to agree.

I love adventure games.
Good luck finding one though, because if you go to a store and look
you'll find maybe 2 games from that category ( all of which are total crap I wouldn't even want to buy)

I'm sick and tired of buying games online so I would like to see some more selection myself.
Maybe the entertainment industry wouldn't have so many problems
if there were at all considerate towards people who don't only like the status quo.

I actually came up with a model for a new kind of business that would easily solve all of these problems without having to pass anything like SOPA at all.
It's too damn bad that these companies don't listen to the little guys like us,
because it's their loss when I stop buying their media altogether over how offended I am by their attempts to violate our privacy rights.

Robert H.
Robert Hamm3 years ago

Brain F there are already laws in the books to stop it. They just can't make their laws enforceable in other lands. I have no problem with stopping it. But this law was not the right tool.

Most of the artists are not the ones being short changed anyway. Its the Corps that are hurting. The corps are angry that the new technology has changed their business and they no longer have a monopoly in the market.

This law let them have far too much latitude and it needed to be defeated.

Brian Steele
Brian Steele3 years ago

Remember that the moves to suspend votes on these bills were already in place before last week's on-line protests.

Also remember that while the wording of the bills may well be deemed unreasonable, their intention is not. Illegal file sharing and the theft of copyright intellectual property is wrong. It may be difficult to get the horse back into the stable after it has bolted, but we do at least need to try.

Most people who share files illegally would accept that they could not walk into their local store and walk out with a pocketful of stolen CDs, DVDs, books or newspapers. What's the diffference just because they are electronic versions?