The widespread Internet blackout Wednesday, in which sites such as Wikipedia, Reddit, Google and Flickr and went dark to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), seems to have influenced members of the U.S. Congress.
PIPA co-sponsor Florida Sen. Marco Rubio pulled his name from the bill Wednesday and SOPA co-sponsor Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle pulled his name Tuesday.
Rubio communicated his withdrawal via a Facebook post, titled “A Better Way to Fight the Online Theft of American Ideas and Jobs,” in which he argues congress should avoid rushing to pass the bill that could have unintended consequences.
“As a senator from Florida, a state with a large presence of artists, creators and businesses connected to the creation of intellectual property, I have a strong interest in stopping online piracy that costs Florida jobs.
However, we must do this while simultaneously promoting an open, dynamic Internet environment that is ripe for innovation and promotes new technologies.”
The Florida Senator encouraged his co-sponsor Nevada Sen. Harry Reid to follow his lead and abandon the bill in order to “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.”
Following the PIPA co-sponsor’s withdrawal, Texas Sen. John Cornyn followed suit, posting a statement of abandonment on Facebook Wednesday morning. Similarly, a spokesperson for Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry said the Congressman is unable to support SOPA as it’s written and plans to withdraw his support as well, theOmaha World-Herald reports.
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In any case, I think Mark Zuckerberg summed it up very nicely as follows:
“The internet is the most powerful tool we have for creating a more open and connected world. We can’t let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the internet’s development. Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the internet.
The world today needs political leaders who are pro-internet. We have been working with many of these folks for months on better alternatives to these current proposals. I encourage you to learn more about these issues and tell your congressmen that you want them to be pro-internet.”
Here’s Wikipedia’s response:
For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.
Personally, I am not surprised. The internet is about free speech and publicity which not one person can control. The fact that congress even thought of bringing this bill to the table, to me, was to attempt to show how “high and mighty” they were. Could this bill have been passed? Nobody knows for sure. Keep in mind that Internet-related campaigns contributed heavily to Obama’s election.
Recently I stumbled across TheOatmeal.com and the site had a humorous yet concise depiction of the potential consequences of any of SOPA’s bills being passed.