Over the weekend, President Obama publicly declared his administration’s opposition to the controversial Internet censorship bill being introduced in Congress known as the Stop Online Piracy Act, better known as SOPA. (The opposition includes both versions of the bill, the House of Representatives’ SOPA and the Senate’s Protect IP Act aka PIPA, which is still technically alive.)
And now, after a continuous loss of support and facing severe and vocal opposition from the public, the House has shelved the bill, and it is what insiders like to call “Dead On Arrival.”
In reality, the bill has not been done away with completely. The correct term is “shelved indefinitely”. And that means that the bill’s sponsors who refuse to see this thing die will revisit it at another time, make some changes to it, and bring it up at a later date.
Said House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA): “While I remain concerned about Senate action on the Protect IP Act, I am confident that flawed legislation will not be taken up by this House. Majority Leader [Eric] Cantor has assured me that we will continue to work to address outstanding concerns and work to build consensus prior to any anti-piracy legislation coming before the House for a vote.”
There were vocal opponents of both bills from every part of the political spectrum — Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, moderates, everyone. No one wanted this bill to happen, except for its sponsors. And a few corporations who may or may not have realized how far, exactly, this thing was meant to reach. Like putting people in prison for posting copyrighted material, for example, or wiping out entire web sites that featured what someone might consider copyrighted material.
But a major nail in the coffin came this weekend, when President Obama’s technology advisors expressed their severe concerns about the reach of the bill and the chilling effect it would have on free expression on the internet. Obama then promised to veto the bill in any form if it made it to his desk. One of SOPA’s main sponsors, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), removed the provision that would have required ISPs to block any offending web sites, but the damage was done after the Administration’s statement.
But PIPA still lives on in the Senate, leaving us no time to rest on our laurels. Obama has vowed to veto it if it passes, which general consensus now considers unlikely. But this is exactly how they stuck us with the NDAA, with Obama vowing up until the very last moment before signing he was going to veto it, then renegging at the bitter end. On Christmas Eve.
These guys are treacherous, they’re criminals. If their lips are moving they’re lying. And they don’t need SOPA anyway if they can ramrod PIPA through. Look for a possible sleight of hand endrun here. These guys want this, now. And they’re not going to give in or give up easily. We need to jump on PIPA without any delay whatsoever, keep a close eye on all of this, and keep the pressure on.