Is the SOPA bill dead? In the wake of criticisms released by the Obama administration Saturday, many observers predict the Stop Online Piracy Act and its sister act, the Protect IP Act (or PIPA), are dead on arrival.
The White House posted a lengthy critique of the bills in response to two mega-petitions lodged by SOPA opponents, which outlined a series of qualms they have with the bill's provisions.
Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small, the posting read.
The criticism mirrors similar concerns that have been voiced with increasing intensity by citizens who worry that if one of the bills is passed, the government will be able to censor online content.
The Obama administration detailed a laundry list of concerns that many observers believe may be the death knell for the controversial bills, which have been losing support in recent weeks.
We must avoid creating new cyber security risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet, the posting says.
Many SOPA and PIPA opponents are the same people who were concerned about the National Defense Authorization Act that Obama passed recently to a chorus of criticism -- as a result, political considerations may have contributed to the Obama administration's decision to side with the people on the Web privacy bills.
A mass movement of Web giants has formed to stand against the SOPA and PIPA acts, saying it threatens their business models and the freedom the Internet, on which the platform flourishes. From Google to Facebook and Wikipedia, these companies are coming out strongly against the bills, and a number have even threatened to go dark later this month if the bill is not dropped by the U.S. Congress.
The New York Times suggested Saturday that the Obama posting will all but [kill] the current versions of legislation that [have] divided both political parties and pitted Hollywood against Silicon Valley.
CNET pointed out Saturday that other developments are also threatening the prospects of the bill's ever being passed into law.
The site said that U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) chairman of the Government Operations and Oversight Committee in the House of Representatives, said a vote on SOPA will not take place unless there is consensus on the bill -- which is something that does not appear to be coming anytime soon.
The Senate is scheduled to host a vote on PIPA on Jan. 24. Whether or not the vote takes place, and how it goes, will be an indication of the future of such bills.
The Obama administration's critique did, however, indicate that the president still supports the passage of some sort of online piracy legislation, though with better protections against the issues opponents despise.
The next few months will be an interesting time for Internet privacy and freedom on the Web.