Thursday, January 19, 2012

Congress bails on SOPA, protests work

Google, Wikipedia, Reddit and many other sites going dark yesterday got the attention of our alien robot overlords also known as the United States Congress. A bunch of Senators and House Members who sponsored the legislation have had second thoughts and withdrew their support for the bills.

On the local level 17th District Congressman Tim Holden (soon to be a candidate in parts of the traditionally 11th CD ) was an original cosponsor of the bill had a change of heart. Good for him.

From his Facebook page: "Based on my background as a sheriff, the Stop Online Piracy Act, commonly referred to as SOPA, was brought to me as a law enforcement bill. At its core, the bill's intent to eliminate theft by foreign websites protects the intellectual property of American manufacturers of all spheres. However, the possible unintended consequences, such as stifling innovation and limiting free speech on the Internet, have come to the forefront of debate. An open Internet requires that we find a better approach that is acceptable to all sides. Therefore, I am today withdrawing as a cosponsor of this bill and will work to find a solution that protects both the openness and innovation of the Internet as well as intellectual property."

There is nothing on his official House or campaign sites.

His primary opponent Matt Cartwright also sounded off on Facebook:

This is an atrocious bill in Congress that would criminalize all kinds of online conduct if it has anything to do with someone else's content. It would shut down Facebook. YouTube would be no more. People out there exercising free speech would go to jail. In my opinion, this legislation is so full of unconstitutional infringements on free speech and unconstitutionally vague criminalization of conduct that it is hard to believe its authors even read that document they swore to uphold and defend. In protest, major websites are going dark today, including Wikipedia, and, as you can see, our own Gort42.

Overall this a fight between some big corporations with the old ones going up against the new ones. The new ones won the argument for now.

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