Detractors of the the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) may have reason to celebrate, albeit momentarily. According to Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-Rep.), an opponent of the bills, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has assured him that SOPA will not move forward in Congress until “a consensus” has been reached.
Rep. Issa also said that a hearing regarding SOPA’s impact on cybersecurity scheduled for today has been postponed. On Friday, Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-Rep.), chief sponsor of SOPA, said he would take out a portion of the law that would allow the Justice Dept. to seek court orders requiring American ISPs to block subscriber access to foreign websites accused of infringing copyright, reports PC World.
Although Mr. Cantor’s camp has yet to issue a public statement, Rep. Issa, who is pushing for alternate legislation called the OPEN Act claims:
“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. The voice of the Internet community has been heard. Much more education for Members of Congress about the workings of the Internet is essential if anti-piracy legislation is to be workable and achieve broad appeal.”
Protest for the bills has been getting more vociferous and coming from harder-to-ignore corners of the internet. Reddit, Wikipedia, and the hacker collective Anonymous have all announced impending blackouts on January 18th to protest SOPA. New York’s tech community has its own rally against Senators Schumer and Gillibrand planned for the same day.
But the most high-profile objection thus far has come from President Obama’s camp. On Friday, his IP, technology and cybersecurity chiefs wrote a joint statement on online piracy, saying, “We will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet.”
It was not the unequivocal dismissal some had hoped for, but the statement, co-signed by Victoria Espinel, Aneesh Chopra, and Howard Schmidt did note that, “Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small,” adding, “We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the internet.”
The Senate is still scheduled to begin voting on PIPA on January 24th. Although if the internet keeps getting its way like this, perhaps we should expect further delays.
“Do not take this concession as a victory! This is an old trick. Please spread the word and call them out repeatedly. 1: Make crazy offer (SOPA) 2: Client rejects crazy offer (us) 3: Make a “reasonable” offer (PIPA) 4: Client accepts offer because it seems reasonable compared to crazy offer. Don’t let up.”
That thread quickly devolves into a discussion of whether that technique is called the contrast effect, the anchoring effect, door-in-the-face technique or Overton window. See, the internet is a fun place. Be careful when you’re messing around with it.