“The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as H.R.3261, was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011 by Representative Lamar Smith [R-TX] and a bipartisan gróup of 12 initial co-sponsors. The aim of the bill is to help U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders fight online transmission of restricted intellectual property.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Opponents of the bill says it goes too far and threatens to shut down or censor legitimate websites that might inadvertently link to or display such content.
Anyway, when I wrote that article back in November, the bill was sitting in the House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet. It had yet to be introduced to the floor for a vote. At the time of writing this article, it doesn’t look like it’s going to.
Issa’s Crystal Ball
Also, back in November, Reuters reported that Darrell Issa, the Republican congressional representative for California, said that there is no way that SOPA will pass.
“There is a very broad coalition from far left to far right who realize this will hurt innovation, something we can’t afford to do. And there are other ways to accomplish what they say is their goal.
I don’t believe this bill has any chance on the House floor. I think it’s way too extreme, it infringes on too many areas that our leadership will know is simply too dangerous to do in its current form.”
As it turns out, Darrell Issa was right. The bill WILL NOT pass as it is currently constituted. So what happened?
Timeline: A Shocking Turn Of Events
January 13, 2012 – In an incredible turn of events, six Republican Senators have asked Majority Leader Harry Reid not to hold a vote on PIPA (The Protect IP Act), and the Senate version of SOPA. The Protect IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 or PIPA), also known as Senate Bill 968 or SB968, is a re-write of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), which failed to pass in 2010.
“Prior to committee action, some members expressed substantive concerns about the bill, and there was a commitment to resolve them prior to floor consideration. That resolution has not yet occurred.”
And as an amazíng validation of the grassroots response to SOPA, led by groups like Fight for the Future, EFF, Public Knowledge, and Demand Progress, they write, “Since the mark-up, we have increasingly heard from a large number of constituents and other stakeholders with vocal concerns about possible unintended consequences of the proposed legislation, including breaches in cybersecurity, damaging the integrity of the Internet, costly and burdensome litigation, and dilution of First Amendment rights.” (Source: Open Congress.org)
January 15, 2012 – Various news outlets reported that President Barack Obama said he would not support SOPA. The Obama administration said that it is opposed to the way the bill is currently written because it limits Internet freedom.
January 18, 2012 – Strike! The Internet Goes Dark
In what is being called the largest online protest in history, Wikipedia, Reddit and several other major sites went “dark” to protest SOPA. And while Google didn’t go black, it blackened its logo.
How was it done?
A simple piece of code called STOP SOPA, replaced a site’s landing page with a black screen. Moving your mouse over the screen revealed a message explaining the need to kill SOPA and a link to anti-SOPA site AmericanCensorship.org.
You can see a complete list of confirmed SOPA strike participants at SOPAStrike.com.
January 19, 2012 – Striking a Obviously Partisan Tone, Senate Minority Leader McConnell Tells Majority Leader Reid to Kill PIPA
“Looks like the next domino in the SOPA/PIPA fight just fell. Tony Romm is reporting that Senate minority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell is calling on Democrats to drop PIPA.
That has a high likelihood of killing off what little Republican support is left for PIPA, because where McConnell goes, so go most Republican Senate votes.” (Source: Techdirt)
January 20, 2012 – SOPA and PIPA Postponed Indefinitely After Protests
“When the entire Internet gets angry, Congress takes notice. Both the House and the Senate on Friday backed away from a pair of controversial anti-piracy bills, tossing them into limbo and throwing doubt on their future viability.
The Senate had been scheduled to vote next week on the Protect IP Act (PIPA) — a bill that once had widespread, bipartisan support. But on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was postponing the vote “in light of recent events.”
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives said it is putting on hold its version of the bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The House will “postpone consideration of the legislation until there is wider agreement on a solution,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said in a written statement.” (Source: CNN/Money)
While the current versions of SOPA/PIPA may, in fact, be dead, politicians on both sides continue to work on a viable solution to combat Internet piracy. In fact, CNN/Money is reporting, alternative legislation has already been proposed.
“A bipartisan group of senators introduced the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN) on January 18 — the same day as the Wikipedia site blackout.
Among other differences, OPEN offers more protection than SOPA would to sites accused of hosting pirated content. It also beefs up the enforcement process. It would allow digital rights holders to bring cases before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), an independent agency that handles trademark infringement and other trade disputes.”
Stay tuned…this thing is far from over.