Congress puts PIPA and SOPA on back burner

January 21, 2012

Put down the champagne, protesters, it’s not over yet … The industry payback search for electing Obama is still ongoing … Lobbyist bribery goes to waste for once, as Rep. Smith is forced to “postpone” SOPA indefinitely..

Political leaders have cancelled plans to vote on the SOPA and PIPA legislation currently before Congress, saying more time is needed to examine the issue.

Nevada senator Harry Reid, who is shepherding PIPA through the Senate, announced that he would postpone a vote on the bill that was scheduled for next week “in light of recent events.” Nevertheless, he praised the proposed legislation and said he looked forward to eventually getting it to a vote.

“We must take action to stop these illegal practices,” he said in a statement. “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.”

Shortly afterwards, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said that the SOPA legislation currently in the House of Representatives would be put on hold, but warned that the government would have to pass some kind of legislation to deal with foreign thieves.

The MPAA signaled its determination to carry on the fight in a brief statement on the matter.

Anyone else note that the existing laws didn’t seem to hinder any of the police agencies in the take-down of Megaupload?


Ding, Dong SOPA is Dead: Version plugged by Democratic-controlled Senate is still alive and kicking, though

January 19, 2012

The House Oversight Chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has long been a stern critic of the Orwellian “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) (H.R. 3261).  The representative announced some huge news on Monday.  He reveals that Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor(R-Va.) promised to shelve any potential vote in the Republican-controlled House in terms of passing SOPA.

The bill was likened to a death penalty to the internet economy by DailyTech and other sites — the bills looked to create a takedown system where any site found to be hosting user generated content pointing to infringing content (say a URL to a torrent) could be immediately taken down.

This would have been a crippling blow to, Inc. (AMZN), Google Inc. (GOOG), online news, and any other site that allows user-generated content, as a malicious user (e.g. a prankster or competitor) could intentionally plant an offending URL and then contact the regulators to take down the site for weeks at a time.  The measure would essentially have ended all American online commerce, online searching, and online news ,if enforced.

The “death” of SOPA comes just hours after President Barack Obama made headlines when his close advisors came out against SOPA.  Some heralded the opposition as a hint that the President might veto the bill to prevent catastrophic economic damage.

The stalling of SOPA is only a partial victory, as the similar “PROTECT IP Act” (PIPA) (S.968) is moving towards a vote in the Senate.

Big media paid approximately 10 percent of active U.S. Senators’ total combined election costs in the last election cycle.  Many of these same big media companies who are looking to imprison filesharing Americans recently plead guilty to stealing tens of millions of dollars in work in Canada alone, from independent artists.

Rep. Issa who has also recently made a name for himself — in part — by opposing President Obama’s strict fuel economy mandates, says he will continue to work with advocacies and with America’s tech luminaries like Google to fight PIPA in the Senate.

He remarks, “Right now, the focus of protecting the Internet needs to be on the Senate where Majority Leader Reid has announced his intention to try to move similar legislation in less than two weeks.”

Source: The Hill

Son Of SOPA: Senator Marco Rubio Dropping His Co-Sponsorship Of PIPA

January 18, 2012

Democrats still trying to pay off their donors, why are Republicans helping? Oops sorry to s[poil the party, Y’all having too.

Like many a literary or 50s horror flick monster, the controversial piece of legislation known best by its acronym shortening — “SOPA” — lurched back to life, a cruel antedeluvian nightmare returned to deaden the short lived joy of its reported passing.

Undeterred by opposition from respected House Oversight Chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and the implied threat of veto from President Barack Obama, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) has revived the Orwellian “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) (H.R. 3261) and vows to pass a revised version “markup” version, even as its Senate counterpart the “PROTECT IP Act” (PIPA) (S.968) merrily chugs along, assisted by a king’s ransom in bribes to U.S. Senatorslobbyist donations estimated to total of 10 percent of the election costs of all current Senators combined.

The pork train will chug into Washington D.C., just in time to ruin Superbowl weekend with a storm of controversy.  That week, after the parties return from their spring retreat — doubtless comparing notes on how many PAC payouts they received from their Motion Picture Association of America and  Recording Industry Association of America — talk will turn to whether they can use some minor modifications to grease SOPA into the American annals.

It would take a fountain of red ink to markup and remove all of the controversial language from SOPA.  Indeed it would likely be impossible to do so and have much of a bill left.  So likely the SOPA we know and love now will be pretty similar to the bill that is looking increasingly likely to be moving towards a vote.

Currently most of the talk focuses on the provisions regarding DNS blacklisting.  Under this system if a site within a certain domain was found to be hosting pirate materials, the whole domain could be taken down.  This is not the first time such powers have been granted to the U.S. federal government and in the past the feds have shown a fantastic propensity to botch things in the worst way possible taking the act of taking down one bad internet site and propogating it intoaccidental deletion of tens of thousands of legitimate sites.

Indeed this provision, like many in SOPA, has a knack for potentially creating problems far eclipsing those it’s trying to solve; the digital equivalent of spraying machine gun fire on a busy public street corner to try to stop a petty drug dealer.  The killer cure also reminds one nostalgically of the old medical practice of bleeding one with leeches to “cure” all variety of maladies.

Indeed, like the leeches, the patient — in this case, the internet — may accidentally die if SOPA gets to execute its piracy “cure”.

from the another-down dept Rubio responds by dropping his support … Yeah Florida.

It appears that the some in Congress are finally hearing you. Senator Marco Rubio, from Florida, has announced that he is removing his name as a co-sponsor of PIPA and is urging Senator Harry Reid not to go ahead with the plan to bring the bill to the floor.

Earlier this year, this bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and without controversy. Since then, we’ve 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. Congress should listen and avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences.

Therefore, I have decided to withdraw my support for the Protect IP Act. Furthermore, I encourage Senator Reid to abandon his plan to rush the bill to the floor. Instead, we should take more time to address the concerns raised by all sides, and come up with new legislation that addresses Internet piracy while protecting free and open access to the Internet.

Publicity Stunt? Or democracy in action? I vote the latter. It’s good to see politicians actually listening to constituents rather than lobbyists sometimes…

By default, this would force the major websites to go dark …

Wikipedia to join Web blackout protesting SOPA

January 16, 2012

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has decided to join a protest of SOPA by shutting down his site on Wednesday.

Calling it a “decision of the Wikipedia community,” Wales said he plans to join other Web sites in ceasing operations to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, a controversial antipiracy bill being debated in Congress. “Final details under consideration but consensus seems to be for ‘full’ rather than ‘soft’ blackout!”

Last week, the news site Reddit announced it would shut down for 12 hours on Wednesday to express its displeasure with SOPA and Protect IP, its Senate sister. Other sites, including the Cheezburger Network, home to massively popular Internet meme sites like I Can Has Cheezburger, have also said they will join the Web blackout.

The bills are heavily supported by a wide group of copyright owners, including the big record companies and Hollywood film studios. Copyright owners charge that online piracy has damaged their businesses and costs workers their jobs. However, Web companies and human rights groups have asserted that if the bills became law, they would rob the Web of free speech and damage the health of the Internet.

In what many in the tech sector saw as a victory, Rep. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), one of SOPA’s biggest backers, announced Friday that he plans to remove SOPA’s DNS-block requirement, which would have allowed the Justice Department to obtain a court order to make a suspected piratical Web site effectively vanish. That development followed an announcement by Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who sponsored PIPA, that he would delete similar DNS requirements from the Senate version.

Nintendo And Sony Rethink Unpopular SOPA Bill

December 31, 2011

A quiet update to the list of Stop Online Piract Act supporters (PDF) has shown that Nintendo and Sony have backed away from the proposed bill. Both were originally endorsing the bill as of November but quietly removed themselves from the list sometime in the past month. Neither has acknowledged the change in attitude.

Game developer EA has also dropped its SOPA support.

All three have an interest in curbing piracy of their games. They may have withdrawn support after seeing the full consequences of the bill, which could see site taken down or blocked if even just a small portion of its content was deemed illegal. As drafted, it would also compromise Internet security by taking apart the DNSSEC initiative the US government has wanted to prevent domain name poisoning attacks.

GoDaddy Officially Removed From The House’s List Of SOPA Supporters

December 28, 2011

When GoDaddy publicly recanted their support of SOPA last week, many were quick to point out that such an act didn’t really mean much. As far as the Judiciary Committee overseeing SOPA was concerned, GoDaddy was still a supporter.

That’s been changed, it seems. In the latest version of the US House Of Representatives’ SOPA Supporters list (heads up: it’s a PDF), GoDaddy’s name is nowhere to be found.

There are still 60 plus concerns and corporations supportive …

SOPA is the end of us, say bloggers

December 28, 2011

Are the days of the modern pamphleteers coming to an end?

Lets face it, Congress has no love for bloggers. They just bugger up the political landscape, making it harder for the lamestream media to herd us into their lovely pens. Since the revolutionary war and the formation of handwritten pieces in the beginning, then Benjamin Franklin and his printing press made somewhat larger distribution available, the people with their pens have always messed up the best political landscape the rulers could build for us, and control us to their wishes. Obama just saw how he could do it better, and failed miserably.

So now we have SOPA, Congress trying to fence us in with laws.

Politico writes:

The conservative and liberal blogospheres are unifying behind opposition to Congress’s Stop Online Piracy Act, with right-leaning bloggers arguing their very existence could be wiped out if the anti-piracy bill passes.

“If either the U.S. Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA) & the U.S. House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) become law, political blogs such as Red Mass Group [conservative] & Blue Mass Group [liberal] will cease to exist,” wrote a blogger at Red Mass Group.

Some have asserted that the controversial measures would criminalize pages and blogs that link to foreign websites dedicated to online piracy. In particular, this has concerned search engines like Google, which could face massive liability if some form of the bill passes, some say.

“Of course, restrictions of results provided by Internet search engines amount to just that: prior restraint of their free expression of future results. Google and others, under SOPA, are told what they can or can’t publish before they publish it. Kill. The. Bill,” conservative blogger Neil Stevens argued at RedState.

Liberals had their own spin on it, cheering on the fact that corporate support for SOPA was starting to subside.

In particular, GoDaddy, a domain registration firm, suffered a spectacularly bad round of PR when it came out in support of the measures. But after a grass-roots campaign to boycott the firm, driven by Reddit, an online community, and others, GoDaddy reversed course and renounced its support.

“Some good news on the SOPA front: Its corporate base of supporters is starting to crumble,” David Dayden wrote at Firedoglake. “GoDaddy is not alone. Scores of law firms are requesting their names be removed from the Judiciary Committee’s official list of SOPA supporters.”

Read more:

Once again the people are left alone fighting this monstrosity of legislation, where Congress is trying to put us all in our subservient peasant place, leaving the politics to the professionals. It will no be.

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