Internet protest wins: US puts SOPA and PIPA piracy bills on hold

23/01/2012

The much-criticised Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act have both been officially postponed, following high-profile protests from a number of websites including Wikipedia and Google. The head of the US House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Lamar Smith, says that they have taken the critic's concerns on SOPA "seriously" and will put the legislative bill on hold "until there is wider agreement on a solution."

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In addition, US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid revealed that he is postponing PIPA's procedural vote, formerly due for Tuesday 24 January.

Reid states, though: "We must take action to stop these illegal practices. We live in a country where people rightfully expect to be fairly compensated for a day's work, whether that person is a miner in the high desert of Nevada, an independent band in New York City, or a union worker on the back lots of a California movie studio."

The news will be seen as a great victory to those who have opposed the SOPA legislation from the start, including Wikipedia founder James Wales, who took his site down on Wednesday (18 January) as part of a mass "Internet blackout" protest.

The ideas present in both SOPA and PIPA may return, but both bills in their present form—and with their present names—are probably done for good.

A key figure in the fight against SOPA was Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). Issa had planned to use his perch as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to highlight the flaws of SOPA's DNS blocking provisions.

"Supporters of the Internet deserve credit for pressing advocates of SOPA and PIPA to back away from an effort to ram through controversial legislation," Issa said in a Friday statement. "Over the last two months, the intense popular effort to stop SOPA and PIPA has defeated an effort that once looked unstoppable."

"Postponing the Senate vote on PIPA removes the imminent threat to the Internet, but it's not over yet," Issa continued. "Copyright infringement remains a serious problem and any solution must be targeted, effective, and consistent with how the Internet works."

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