Close on the heels of the Senate delaying the vote on PIPA (Protect IP Act), U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) also announced that the House of Represenative has shelved the anti-piracy bill SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) until there is wider agreement on a solution.
According to CNET, Lamar Smith, the head of the House Judiciary Committee, said the House will postpone consideration of the legislation until there is wider agreement on a solution. Moreover, he added that he has taken critics' concerns seriously.
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, Smith said in a statement.
A committee representative told CNET over the phone that the delay does indeed refer to the Stop Online Piracy Act.
The SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) are designed to crack down on online piracy of movies and music and the sale of counterfeit goods. However, the critics said the bills are draconic and gives the U.S. authorities blanket power. They are afraid that if the bills are approved, the U.S. government can crack down on any Web site arbitrarily without due process of law.
Many Web giants have protested against SOPA and PIPA. Search engine giant Google and popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia had protested against the bills in their own ways and have called on numerous Netizens to join their camp. Google said over seven million people in the U.S. have signed an online petition against the bills following the Jan. 18 blackout.
The hackers collective Anonymous has also taken the battle against the anti-piracy bills to a new level by shutting down the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Universal Music Web sites, after U.S. government cracked down on Megaupload and Megavideo sites on Thursday.
Besides the Netizens, some Republican supporters such as Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Sen. Rick Santorum, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, have distanced themselves from the bills, saying the SOPA and PIPA bills have gone too far.
However, Smith is unwilling to kill the anti-piracy bill. 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, he said in the statement.
The Committee will continue work with both copyright owners and Internet companies to develop proposals that combat online piracy and protect America's intellectual property, Smith added. We welcome input from all organizations and individuals who have an honest difference of opinion about how best to address this widespread problem. The Committee remains committed to finding a solution to the problem of online piracy that protects American intellectual property and innovation.
Smith isn't the only one to support the crackdown on online piracy. Chris Dodd, a former senator and current CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), hold a similar viewpoint and supports the SOPA and PIPA.
Dodd indicated there's more work should be done to stop piracy.With today's announcement, we hope the dynamics of the conversation can change and become a sincere discussion about how best to protect the millions of American jobs affected by the theft of American intellectual property, Dodd said in a statement. The threat posed by these criminal operations has been widely acknowledged by even the most ardent critics. It is incumbent that they now sincerely work with all of us to achieve a meaningful solution to this critically important goal.
But for now, the Netizens are celebrating the delay of both the anti-piracy bills on Twitter. Here are some of the tweets:
SOPA's dead and that's great. But how about we put the celebration on hold and figure out how many Horcruxes we have to destroy first?- Rosa Golijan
'SOPA and PIPA were dropped by Congress today.' YES!- Pam van Hylckama
Yes!!! All in part to those who called, protested, and let their voice be heard. - SOPA Is Dead: Smith Pulls Bill ow.ly/8AQZX-- Jennifer J Choi
Glad SOPA & PIPA were pulled for reconsideration but I won't forget where @DWStweets & @repteddeutch stood on it come election time.- Rey Bango
Power to the people (& the Internet)! '@ProPublica: In one image: How #SOPA and #PIPA support shifted on Wednesday.bit.ly/z0qkBb'- Andrea Basora