Source: Online protest threatens piracy bill
January 17th, 2012
07:25 PM ET
11 years ago

Source: Online protest threatens piracy bill

Washington (CNN) - The growing Internet protest–including a planned blackout by some websites Wednesday– against an online anti-piracy bill moving through Congress is "daunting," a Senate Democratic aide said Tuesday.

The aide said the protest may be powerful enough to keep senators from voting to even take up the bill that until recently commanded rare bipartisan support.

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"Before it looked like it would pass with 80 votes, and now [the online protest] looks like something that will suck the votes away," the aide said. "We're at a tipping point. It will either become a huge issue or die down a bit and that will determine the future of this."

The aide said it was premature to say exactly how it will play out but acknowledged that because of protest from Internet mainstays like Google and Wikipedia "the merits of the bill are getting lost" and "sand is shifting pretty quickly" against it.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-VT, is weighing changes to the bill to address concerns in the online community. In particular, he is considering dropping a provision that would impose new requirements on Internet service providers.

Senate Democratic leaders scheduled the bill as the first order of business when the Senate returns to work next week. They considered it one key part of their overall job creation agenda.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was open to changes to satisfy critics.

In a letter last week to GOP senators concerned about the bill, Reid acknowledged the bill "is not perfect" but said it would "protect American ingenuity and commerce" and is "too important to delay."

"It's tough to believe that after another week of this we're going to be able to get cloture [the 60 votes needed to take up the bill], so that would settle it for the immediate term," the Senate Democratic aide said.

Texas Republican Congressman Lamar Smith, who is leading the effort to move a bill in the House, criticized efforts by the bill's opponents to mount the blackout on Wednesday.

"This publicity stunt does a disservice to its users by promoting fear instead of facts," Smith said in written statement Tuesday.

Smith has already agreed to make changes to his legislation in response to concerns by opponents. His statement stressed that the House bill "only targets foreign websites that are primarily dedicated to illegal activity. It does not grant the Justice Department the authority to seek a court order to shut down any website operated in the U.S."

California Rep. Darrell Issa, who is pushing his own legislation as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, cancelled a hearing scheduled Wednesday on the problems that Google and others have with the bill.

But in a statement Friday, Issa said, "Majority Leader Cantor has assured me that we will continue to work to address outstanding concerns and work to build consensus prior to any anti-piracy legislation coming before the House for a vote."

Despite signals from House GOP leaders that the bill won't be scheduled for a vote until some of the controversial provisions are worked out, Smith announced that his committee plans to consider the bill early next month.

Time Warner, the parent company of CNN, is among the industry supporters of the legislation.

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Romney says his effective tax rate is 15%

Filed under: Congress • Democrats • Republicans
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. No Longer Confused

    Just this statement alone should make everyone very, VERY concerned about the true agenda in this bill. "Reid acknowledged the bill "is not perfect" but said it would "protect American ingenuity and commerce" and is "too important to delay." Translation, "Obama needs the ability to censure or even shut down the internet if it looks like he is going to lose his re-election bid." Obama is well aware the biggest threat to his campaign IS the internet and he wants the ability to control it.

    Watch these snakes pass it in the dead of night against the will of the people–you just watch. Majority of the people didn't want the health care bill either, did that stop them? NO, they don't care what we want, they'll do as they damn well please, thank you very much. We are but gross morons in their eyes who need to be controlled by the likes of them.

    January 18, 2012 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  2. Koal

    STOP SOPA AND PIPA! No changes accepted they must die on the floor. It will forever change the internet goodbye google, goodbye youtube, goodbye facebook. To hell with its supporters, yes you to cnn, time warner cable, walmart etc.

    January 18, 2012 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  3. Ryan

    And if the internet goes dark, life shall go on.....wa wa waaa

    January 18, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  4. Anonymous

    The bought and sold, totally ineffective leaders in our Congress shouldn't be allowed to pass one more law until they effectively deal with the debt (money mechanics and banking) crisis and then repeal laws that couldn't stand on their own merit (like the Patriot Act and the creation of the TSA) if you had a team of 7 year olds doing the reviews. This move by Google and Wikipedia shows that the people always have the power. When are we going to wake up and truly organize outside of our totally broken government and get on with the business of problem solving so that we can have a life much more free of the corruption of rule by greed. The idea that Congress is going to pass laws to create jobs is like waiting for the garbage man to turn your trash into gold bullion. "Your" government will continue to do what it has done for 100 years now. Serve the ultra rich in their quest to create wage slaves out of as many human beings as possible. Wake up. Wake up. Wake up.

    January 18, 2012 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  5. Thor

    Of course, the very ones who don't want anti-piracy laws in effect.... are......(drum roll for the stupid please) ..... the pirates!

    January 18, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  6. Anne Smithwick

    Out of ALL the ISSUES in the USA... Jobs... Economy.... Housing... Jobs Jobs Jobs and Debt... 15 Trillion plus...

    WHY does this administration spend their time with a PRIVACY ISSUE.

    The President is OUT OF TOUCH with Anerica

    January 18, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  7. Crosscut

    Too bad Obamacare didn't receive this kind of scrutiny before it was crammed down our throats.

    January 18, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  8. lk804

    Well, we could take all cars away to stop speeders, close down all Walmarts to stop shop lifters. I love it how congress can pass any number of unpopular laws to take away our freedoms, but can't seem to pass any law that might balance the budget.

    January 18, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  9. Anonymous

    SOPA is another bill written by the predatory capitalists that feed off of America. In this case SOPA is written in such a ways as to give media/entertainment content owners priority over other internet users. Members from both parties support SOPA not because it is good law but because the corporatist media, along with banks and the MIC, run our country using their political puppets from both parties. SOPA is a sad sell-out to these elitist parasites who corrupt our government and economy. Attacks on fair use will be next, in order to prevent people from creating their own counter-campaigns by using clips of politicians lying.

    January 18, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  10. Larry Pierson

    Heavy handed government interference is not how to handle piracy. Technology is capable of dealing with piracy if the RIAA can get itself out of the 14th century and adopt 21st century technology and sales tactics.

    January 18, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  11. cykill45

    this is the cerimonial"foot through the door" once they get this passed 1 or two years down the road they will bring more legislation, that they will say is despiratly needed for _________ reasons. this process, which i like to call "baby steps" had been used for years not only in our country but others as well. They know that the citizens wouldn't tolorate tthe internet being censored, so they will try to do it little baby bites at a time. i will view whatever i want on the internet thank you.

    ...just what i need, a bunch of 65 year old dudes deciding what we do with our computers they don't even know how to turn on.

    ...i don't understand how anyone outside of hollywood supports either of these bills, totally illogical for people to vote against thier own interest.

    ...although, there are poor and middle class people who vote republican which defies all logic since those are the same people the the GOP would love to stomp out of existance(sorry, had to get that in there)

    rant now finished

    January 18, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
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