PIPA and SOPA go down!
2:36pm | 20 January 2012 | by Jochai Ben-Avie, English
Yes, it's true. After a totally unprecedented revolt from the internet community, and the millions of people worldwide who joined in protests, signed petitions, or blacked out their websites, we helped put the brakes on one of the the most threatening pieces of legislation to free speech and the internet ever, the PROTECT IP Act, or PIPA (in the Senate), and the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA (in the House).
After days of international pressure online and offline against internet censorship legislation, including so many of you from the Access Global Movement for Digital Freedom, US Senate Majority Leader Reid this morning announced that he is postponing a major vote on PIPA that was scheduled for Tuesday. Shortly after, Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who spearheaded the House companion bill, SOPA, announced that he's delaying their measure indefinitely as well. This is a fatal blow to this legislation!
These bills threatened free speech everywhere and the very integrity of the internet, but their downfall shows what happens when we all join together. We want to thank all of you who spoke up this week against these bills. You all had a hand in today's events.
Going up against well-funded interests is never a short game, however. Make no mistake, the fight is far from over. The bills could come back, in another iteration, in the next coming months, if not weeks. The entertainment industry lobbyists and their allies are undoubtedly working hard to bring versions of PIPA and SOPA back from the dead. And similarly dangerous internet censorship bills are popping up all around the world. While we support the rights of creators, we will never support legislation that restricts our right to free speech online or undermines the integrity of the internet. While Hollywood may continue to try and find a compromise on this legislation, we will never compromise on human rights.
Today's news is great, and this is a very big win for the citizens of the internet, but we must be cognizant that this is just one battle, albeit a large one, in a much longer war against internet censorship.
Yet, the incredible action from the internet users of the world has fundamentally changed the nature of the game. Even the MPAA (the lobby for big movie studios which created these terrible bills) was shocked and seemingly humbled by the change we achieved. "This was a whole new different game all of a sudden," MPAA Chairman and former Senator Chris Dodd told the New York Times. "[PIPA and SOPA were] considered by many to be a slam dunk.”
Let's keep up the fight, and continue to support internet freedom everywhere.
Access Policy Director
Read below about what's being said after today's announcement:
Wired: Reid Calls Off Protect IP Act Vote
NY Times: Senate Postpones Vote on Internet Piracy Bill
Techdirt: OK, So SOPA And PIPA Are Both On Hold: Where Do We Go From Here?
Techdirt: Patrick Leahy Still Doesn't Get It; Says Stopping PIPA Is A Victory For Thieves
Computerworld: Sen. Leahy criticizes 'knee-jerk' reaction to PIPA, SOPA protests
Reuters: Anti-Piracy Protest Fallout Mounts -- Bills Delayed, Dodd Makes a Plea