The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), two bills that racked up bedlam in the online world last week, are dead. But for how long?
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), which both proposed to crack down on Internet piracy and content theft, was pulled from consideration on Friday by Representative Lamar Smith, after two days of online protest.
Many online companies and Web sites, including Google, Facebook and Wikipedia, complained that the legislation -- in its current form -- would lead to Internet Censorship.
I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy, Smith said on Friday. It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.
There was widespread celebration among SOPA and PIPA critics when the statement was read. SOPA is Dead got its own hash tag on Twitter within minutes, but in reality it seems the bills have been pushed aside instead of getting killed off.
The problem of online piracy is too big to ignore, Smith said, which suggests the bills could be revisited and revised. American intellectual property industries provide 19 million high-paying jobs and account for more than 60% of U.S. exports. The theft of America's intellectual property costs the U.S. economy more than $100 billion annually and results in the loss of thousands of American jobs. Congress cannot stand by and do nothing while American innovators and job creators are under attack, he added.
Jeff Koch, a Political Science professor at SUNY, told Mashable that most bills fail. [SOPA is] dead for the rest of the year. Especially in an election year; anything that generates this level of controversy, Koch said. But there are bills that do come back, he added.
Koch explained to Mashable that while people love the freedom of the Web, online piracy is a reality that costs a lot of money. Online giants are for addressing the problem, but the SOPA and PIPA bills proposed by congress came under fire, because of the clumsy way in which they were written.
Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales, blacked-out the English language arm of his vast site on Wednesday in protest of the bills, saying SOPA and PIPA, as currently drafted, will leave them no alternative but to police the online activity on their sites. Wales told the BBC that the bill is written so badly that it is going to affect so many things that have very little to do with stopping piracy.
The pulling of the bills was a big blow for supporters of SOPA and PIPA. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) urged legislators to continue to work toward new alternatives to prevent online piracy.
As an industry of innovators and creators, we understand the importance of both technological innovation and content protection and are committed to working with all parties to encourage a balanced solution, ESA said in a statement.
Creative Coalition, an organization that runs a pro-SOPA ad campaign, continues to air their advertisements in support of the bills, which suggests the fight is still on. One was seen on CNN on Saturday during the South Carolina primaries.
Meanwhile, Megaupload, a leading file-sharing Web site, was instantly shut down on Thursday after federal prosecutors accused it of mass copyright infringement. The decision has received criticism from some SOPA/PIPA skeptics who say the bills aren't needed for the government to control Internet freedom. SOPA out the window but gov still shutting down websites #megaupload Chris Walton tweeted on Friday.
The move to shut down Megaupload has only added fuel to the fire of the ongoing SOPA-PIPA battle. Just minutes after the shutdown, hackers attacked public Web sites including the Justice Department, Universal Music and other trade groups that represent the music and film industries and are the prime backers of SOPA and PIPA.
The government takes down Megaupload? 15 minutes later Anonymous takes down government & record label sites, a hacker from Anonymous tweeted.