NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Leaders of opposition to SOPA and PIPA in Congress congratulate Net strike organizers

As we report­ed ear­li­er today, Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Har­ry Reid has scrapped plans to hold a vote on the “Pro­tect IP Act”, also known as PIPA, next Tuesday.

PIPA is one of the two MPAA and RIAA-backed bills that would per­mit major media con­glom­er­ates to indi­rect­ly cen­sor the Inter­net, using the long arm of the Depart­ment of Jus­tice. The net­roots com­mu­ni­ty has been work­ing in coop­er­a­tion with activists from across the polit­i­cal spec­trum to defeat the bills, cul­mi­nat­ing in Wednes­day’s Inter­net strike… a glob­al protest against PIPA and its House equiv­a­lent, SOPA (the “Stop Online Pira­cy Act”).

Those efforts paid off today with Sen­a­tor Rei­d’s deci­sion not to bring PIPA to the Sen­ate floor next week, and Texas Repub­li­can Lamar Smith’s sep­a­rate announce­ment that SOPA will not be mov­ing for­ward (for now) in the House.

The lead­ers of the bipar­ti­san effort against the bills all released state­ments prais­ing the news and thank­ing protest par­tic­i­pants for jolt­ing Capi­tol Hill.

“Sen­a­tor Reid’s deci­sion to pull PIPA from the floor is the right one. Leg­is­la­tion impact­ing the future of the Inter­net is sim­ply too impor­tant to get wrong,” said Ore­gon’s senior sen­a­tor, Ron Wyden, who sin­gle­hand­ed­ly stopped PIPA from advanc­ing to the Sen­ate floor in 2011 by plac­ing a hold on the bill.

“PIPA’s authors have been right to iden­ti­fy copy­right infringe­ment and the online sale of coun­ter­feit goods as a prob­lem that Con­gress should work to address. The prob­lem with the approach tak­en by PIPA and the House, Stop Online Pira­cy Act (SOPA) is that it treats the Inter­net as if its only pur­pose was to pro­mote infringe­ment. That approach not only result­ed in reme­dies that would have done irrepara­ble harm to online inno­va­tion, open­ness and free speech, it neglects the con­sid­er­able oppor­tu­ni­ties pre­sent­ed by today’s dig­i­tal economy.”

“Con­gress should take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to do more than work out a com­pro­mise bill, Con­gress should take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to gain a bet­ter under­stand­ing of the dig­i­tal world and look for ways to both pro­tect and pro­mote dig­i­tal trade and inno­va­tion,” he added.

“I believe the OPEN Act is a good place to start. But before we think about next steps, we should reflect on the his­to­ry that was made this week. More than 15 mil­lion Amer­i­cans got involved in a pol­i­cy debate demon­strat­ing that even in the face of some of the biggest and most pow­er­ful spe­cial inter­ests, every voice counts.”

Wash­ing­ton’s Maria Cantwell agreed.

“I appre­ci­ate Sen­a­tor Reid’s deci­sion to post­pone a vote on the PROTECT IP Act” Cantwell said in a midafter­noon state­ment. “America’s econ­o­my thrives on inno­va­tion and free­dom of speech. We can’t afford to rush an Inter­net pol­i­cy that could tram­ple on our inno­va­tion economy.”

“This week, the Amer­i­can peo­ple clear­ly spoke – and their voic­es were heard. Thank you to the thou­sands of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans who raised your voic­es this week to sup­port an open and free Internet.”

“As we move for­ward, I’ll con­tin­ue to advo­cate for a pol­i­cy that pro­tects both cre­ative con­tent and online free­dom of speech. I was proud to be part of the orig­i­nal bipar­ti­san coali­tion offer­ing an alter­na­tive to PROTECT IP. Now, I encour­age Con­gress to con­sid­er the OPEN Act, which address­es ille­gal pira­cy and secu­ri­ty while keep­ing the Inter­net open for free speech and innovation.”

Repub­li­can Con­gress­man Dar­rell Issa also con­grat­u­lat­ed strike orga­niz­ers and par­tic­i­pants after Reid announced his deci­sion to put off a vote.

“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 news release. “Over the last two months, the intense pop­u­lar effort to stop SOPA and PIPA has defeat­ed an effort that once looked unstop­pable but lacked a fun­da­men­tal under­stand­ing of how Inter­net tech­nolo­gies work.

Oth­er state­ments from oppo­si­tion leaders:

We at NPI thank Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Issa, Polis, and Lof­gren, as well as Sen­a­tors Wyden, Cantwell, Paul, and Moran for their lead­er­ship in defend­ing the Inter­net against these ill-con­ceived bills. Were it not for them, these bills might be law right now… which is a very scary thought! Thank­ful­ly, nei­ther PIPA or SOPA is on our books, and the Inter­net remains open and free. We must con­tin­ue to be active in pro­tect­ing the Net from future mis­guid­ed legislation.

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