The Internet Wins: PIPA & SOPA Delayed

from the there-we-go dept

The writing has been on the wall for a long, long time, but now it’s finally official. Harry Reid has announced that he will not move forward with PIPA and Lamar Smith has announced the same thing about SOPA. Both are listed as “delayed” and there’s always a chance that they will come back in some form (potentially even nastier), but hopefully those on Capitol Hill have learned a big lesson about trying to mess with the internet… and what happens when you cut backroom deals to help one industry at the expense of the public.

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Comments on “The Internet Wins: PIPA & SOPA Delayed”

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cjstg (profile) says:

Re: I'll hold off for now.

this thing will never die. as long as there are people who make money from copyright those rights will be consolidated into associations and unions until there is enough money to pay for lobbyists. those lobbyists will work to further the interests of the people paying them.

the other side of this is the tech companies. once they get a taste of lobbying, it is going to be hard to stop them. google and facebook will start to understand that certain laws that limit them (and their revenues) need to go away. smaller competitors start to feel squeezed by new laws and so on.

the problem here is the process by which our laws are created. our legislators are just regular guys (with really big egos, granted) who want to do the right thing. but when the people they talk to have something to sell and they couch it in terms of “for the children” and prop it up with campaign contributions, these voices drown out the rest of us. it isn’t until we get really pissed off and shove it down their throats like we did on wednesday do they really take notice.

now everyone will go back lick their wounds and strategize this all over again. the associations will reassess and consult with the lobbyists. the lobbyists will figure out how to rephrase this to our legislators so that is sounds good again. and the whole thing starts all over. this will never die until our culture changes to a degree where these people become irrelevant a la the buggy whip makers association.

KingFisher says:

Was too slow

Oh well i was third. But anyways how about we, the internet expose the entertainment industry’s little scam ofthem being the ones to distribute the pirating software and DMA remover software. Piracy was a ploy set up by the entertainment industries to screw over their own artists and the common man so the executives could line their pockets with gold. There is tons of evidence all over the web. Shove that in the face of a federal judge and the entertainment industry will haev a lot to answer for.

Violated (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011”

As the Internet already successfully deals with this topic in self-censorship then this is clearly some nasty idea hidden under a “protect the children” concept.

“No UN inspector this is not a nuclear warhead but a flying paedophile killer! We must all work hard to protect the children”

Pjerky (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I inherently distrust any law that quickly cites “protecting children”. That is a very strong indication that something nasty is trying to slip through. Hell I wouldn’t put it past them to create a “protect the children” bill that actually encourages the violation of children.

We just can’t trust our government anymore. Too much corruption. Too much greed. Too much ignorance and stupidity.

Rick Falkvinge (profile) says:

Thank you, Mike.

While it takes millions of people acting, and millions of people indeed did act on this, it always takes one or a few heroic anchors for a cause to keep the flame burning. A person that keeps analyzing, posting, informing, coordinating.

While many other assist and help out, in hindsight, you can usually say that “this person was key”.

Thank you, Mike.

The Logician says:

A relevant quotation applies here, I believe, in the wake of what has happened. I do not recall the source, but if anyone knows of it, feel free to supply it. It goes as follows:

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

We must not relax or let down our guard. To do so would be futile and would undermine our efforts.

KelvinZevallos (profile) says:

Re: "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

Probably the phrase comes from Chris Roberts’ “Wing Commander IV: The price of Freedom” (Origin and Electronic Arts, 1995).

On topic, you are right. There is a huge chance that this scenario will come back in any moment. And we have to be ready for it, more than we were for SOPA/PIPA.

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

hopefully those on Capitol Hill have learned a big lesson about trying to mess with the internet… and what happens when you cut backroom deals to help one industry at the expense of the public.

Sadly, I find that thought a little too optimistic for government. Crony Capitalism is still alive and well in Washington and state and local governments. While we have been able to throw a monkey wrench into the works of this particular incarnation of crony capitalism, there are still thousands of more incarnations currently in effect and seeking to become law.

As a whole, we need to be more vigilant on all fronts and fight crony capitalism in all its incarnations. Whether it is a law that protects incumbent taxi cab companies, interior designers, florists, funeral homes, or whatever else might be seeking unfair protectionist measures against competition.

So keep up the good fight and defend liberty for all people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Running to the government (or king) and getting a commercial monopoly in return for a payment, has been going on since the middle ages, at least. It is time for a hard reset of Congress, getting all existing congress critters who are unable or unwilling to reject this pattern, replaced with others who will. Do not expect any significant progress from the two major parties. They have been playing this game for far too long. Do your duty, US voters.

Dustin (profile) says:

I give it a week… maybe two… and we’ll see their incarnations.

Right now somewhere in Washington some high class escort or young secretary paid and bought by the MAFIAA is on her knees in some Senators office earning a very special favor.

Meanwhile down the hall some nameless person dressed in black is quietly explaining to a separate Senator why a YES VOTE for PIPA and SOPA would be beneficial to his family.

Violated (profile) says:


To be honest here then this delay does much worry me.

This to me only reads like they want to delay now so that the public heat cools down. Then it is only wait until the one key day when the public are distracted to slip it into law while everyone is left thinking “WTF just happened there?”

So this turns one decisive vote and quick resolution into the vast job of having to closely watch them for weeks or months to see if PIPA and SOPA start to move.

Please just kill them.

Kevin Stapp (profile) says:

Dead in the current form

There is little doubt these ideas will resurrect in future legislation but Congress is now forced to hear from all stakeholders – especially consumers. Sham one sided hearings won’t pass muster the next time around.

I believe the future debate must shift from ‘internet regulation’ to true IP reform. Congress needs to understand that copyright designed in the analog world doesn’t translate to the digital world. You can’t create artificial scarcity in a world that creates supply exactly equal to demand.

Beta (profile) says:

follow through, or it's all for nothing

“…hopefully those on Capitol Hill have learned a big lesson about trying to mess with the internet… and what happens when you cut backroom deals to help one industry at the expense of the public.”

What does happen? You get delayed by a few months?

They haven’t learned their lesson yet, not while Reid, Smith and the rest of the pro-SOPA/PIPA gang are still in office. If we don’t want these Acts to come back in a few months, we must follow through. Reid and Smith must never win another election, and the corporate backers should suffer for years. Ideally, all politicians who voiced strong support for these Acts should lose their next elections, and I’d like to cull the late-changers and fence-sitters too. And if I could have three wishes, there’d be a boycott waiting for whoever hires Reid or Smith when they leave Congress.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The trolls have gone awfully quiet of late?

Geez. I now realize why they went quiet. Thanks in part to your comment. They were saying things like “it’s just a minority”, “it’s just pirates”, wre wre wre “this’ll fly through”, “you all will need crying towels for when this passes”, etc etc etc. Then bam!

The people and the internet got organized and made their voices heard. Then came the statements from various representatives reconsidering their positions.

So the trolls were pretty much wrong about everything they were saying leading up to things. They can’t come back and troll right away, cause we’ll throw their own words/stupidity in their faces.

Noah Callaway says:

Mike + Wyden

I just want to raise a quick toast to a couple of the many heroes of the Battle of SOPA: Mike, and Senator Ron Wyden.

Without the two of them, I’m thoroughly convinced PIPA would already have been passed, and SOPA would be well on its way.

To be sure, there were many other people who were necessary in this fight. But I just wanted give those two some quick praise.

Thanks, guys.

VideoSavant says:

Are You Kidding?

I am pleased that both of these bills have been derailed, but I could not let this sentence pass without comment:

…but hopefully those on Capitol Hill have learned a big lesson about trying to mess with the internet… and what happens when you cut backroom deals to help one industry at the expense of the public.

Now, maybe you’re correct about messing with the Internet, though I think you spectacularly underestimate the appetite of politicians for control of everything, but particularly control of information.

But on the second point (cutting backroom deals favoring one industry over others and the public) this is a fantastically ludicrous statement. THIS is what Congress does and this is what greases the wheels of politics in America. Were you dead asleep when the Obamacare legislation was rammed through Congress? And that is only one, admittedly highly conspicuous, example.

Just saying that when someone makes naive statements like the one I’ve quoted above, it makes it difficult to take anything else you write or say seriously.

Anonymous Coward says:

> Harry Reid has announced that he will not move forward with PIPA and Lamar Smith has announced the same thing about SOPA.

And you guys believe them?

Do we really believe they will not say one thing and do another?

I will believe both have been delayed when their voting date has passed. Until them, we have to keep the heat up, or increase it even more to make sure they will not go up for a vote.


Seen this before.....

This issue brings to mind a problem I’ve seen more than once; getting unpopular levies passed. When an unpopular school levy is proposed it sometimes is defeated because the voters believe the money will not benefit their kids but rather be used to hire unnecessary non-teaching people or wasted on foolish and expensive projects. And what happens? A few months later we have a “special election” and the kids are sent home with flyers informing us we now have one more chance to “do it right” and get the levy passed. If it fails again we may get another “extra special election” or maybe they just campaign brutally until the next regular election and there is the levy again only for more money. They keep this up until, by accident, the thing passes by the narrowest of margins and we are dead because there are no “special elections” to rid ourselves of the hated tax. These guys have it even easier because they can just keep reintroducing their horrid law under different names, changing it slightly each time. They can attach it to other laws, maybe a spending bill that really must be passed. And once they sneak it through, we are dead. Have we had any success repealing the DMCA or the Patriot act? Much as I hate to say it, I’m beginning to think the fun is just about over with the internet and it’s “welcome to the war on file trading” brought to you by the same people who gave you the “war on drugs”, the “war on porn” etc. etc.

Anonymous Coward says:

‘hopefully those on Capitol Hill have learned a big lesson about trying to mess with the internet’.

who are you trying to kid? what lessons have they learned in the past? none! the same thing does come back. they just try to slide it in on the end of another piece of less offensive legislation, hoping that no one notices until it’s too late!

Anonymous Coward says:


“I encourage him to continue engaging with all stakeholders to forge a balance between protecting Americans? intellectual property, and maintaining openness and innovation on the internet. We made good progress through the discussions we?ve held in recent days, and I am optimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks.?

Piracy isn’t going to be legalized. Wake up to reality.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Piracy isn’t going to be legalized.

Why not? Serious question here.

Something like half the US population are now coming around to the idea of legalized marijuana due to the fact that ever increasing enforcement against it has done absolutely nothing, except to cost us taxpayers more and more money.

If piracy is truly a businees model problem and not and enforcement problem (which I believe it is) why would legalizing piracy for individual consumption be such stretch? If people really want your content and enjoy it, they will compensate you, regardless if piracy is legal or not, even if it’s only because they want you to produce more.

LC (profile) says:

This is a short-term win at best. Don't celebrate yet.

We have no guarantee that they won’t come back in some other form further down the track. We have no guarantee that provisions of SOPA/PIPA won’t be sneaked in piece-by-piece.

We still need to make sure that AT LEAST Lamar Smith in the House and Patrick Leahy in the Senate, if not every single sponsor and supporter of the bills whom hasn’t since stepped down, no longer has their seats after the next election. While the article may make Lamar Smith SOUND like he’s no longer a sponsor or supporter, not only is it very likely he still supports it, but don’t forget he’s the one who introduced SOPA in the first place.

Furthermore, we need a constitutional amendment that bans corporations from giving political donations, lobbying government and drafting legislation, and provides heavy penalties for both the corporations themselves and politicians/political candidates who accept the corporate campaign donations or introduce corporate-written/corporate-backed legislation.

We won the battle, but the war is far from over.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
– Thomas Jefferson

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This is a short-term win at best. Don't celebrate yet.

We can be absolutely certain SOPA/PIPA will return in small bite sized chunks hidden in other completely unrelated bills (“Save the Children from the Terrorists Act of 2013”).

The election is almost around the corner, so it is important for the future career of any RIAA/MPAA funded politico to at least seem to respect the will of the people they pay lip service of representing. But 2013 is an entire new ball game! Three years to pass unpopular bills and then one year to feed bullshit via corporate owned media to the voters. TV induced amnesia is a powerful tool after all.

As for corporations that more or less openly bribe the pols, they have been recognized by the highest legal court to be real citizens. Far more amoral, unethical and downright psychopathic than the average corporal citizen, but citizens none the less.

FM Hilton (profile) says:

No, the victory is temporary-the war goes on

It’s just beginning. You see, Congress has this incredibly false idea that if they ‘shelve’ these laws, and let the hysteria die down for a few months, they can come back later and make more of the same, with less noise. They’re convinced that Google was the nasty entity behind this awful disaster. Never mind that none of them ever discovered that the internet is full of people who never use Google.

We have to be aware that these people are in it for the power, nothing else. Vote them all out, and we might see a different playset afterwards.

Until we replace all of the main players who pushed these bills to their resting place, we won’t get rid of the problem.

Lamar Smith has to go. Harry Reid has to go. Those are the top two that have got to be unseated for these bills to really die.

Get involved in the voting and then you’ll see some change.

Istas says:

This is an encouraging step; it both interrupted (however temporarily) execution of this legislation, and showed the kind of influence people can actually have. This is honestly the first time I’ve been conscious of being part of a community that had actual effect in political dealings.

However, as many have pointed out, this is -a- victory, not assurance of safety. What is really needed is proactive legislation by people with actual knowledge of the technologies involved that both effectively targets the stated problems, and preempts further attempts at broad, vaguely-worded, freedom-of-speech-hampering legislation by the same interests that fabricated SOPA and PIPA.

Take heart, keep active, and remember that no matter how much cynicism you hear, it is the truth that these people only have as much power as we give them.

John Lenihan (profile) says:


Email to Sen Rubio of Florida:
Dear Sir,
You sponsored and later withdrew the PIPA copyright law in the U.S. Senate. I would like to offer a few thoughts on the same subject.

In 1934, Disney made a short “talkie” cartoon film “Steamboat Willie” with Mickey Mouse. Anyone viewing this should bow very deeply, because that wretched little cartoon mouse will be copyright for centuries! How that squares with the clear Constitutional requirement that copyrights be granted for “limited times” is no mystery: Congress just makes up laws as it goes along, depending on what greedy media lawyers and their clients want.

Nobody approves of the flagrant distribution of copyright works for profit, as in the case of the group just arrested and shut down in New Zealand; they got what they deserved. However, it’s important to note that about a third of the users of that group were innocent people storing personal and business material and not violating any copyrights at all.

Copyright law is a difficult exercise in choosing between a restricted monopoly for limited times as the Constitution demands, and the public interest. Congress has failed miserably in that job; instead they have just stampeded in the direction of the biggest “campaign contributions.”

Copyright reminds me about the two Kings: Dr. Martin Luther King the Afro-American cleric and speaker, whose memorial holiday we just observed, and Mr. Stephen King the novelist.

It’s now perfect feasable and cheap to copy Mr. King’s popular and widely-read novels, violate his copyright, and distribute his works online, or in other electronic form. But there would be no point! His works are widely available in printed or electronic form at reasonable prices; they can be borrowed from public libraries, and bought and sold second-hand without any problem at all. A good, proven, copyright business model protects his interests far better than any Congressional manipulation of copyright. But media interests and their mouthpieces in Congress have fought tooth and claw to cripple the public interest limitations of copyright law, public library access and limited copyright terms especially.

In the case of Dr. King, his important and profound writings and speeches are copyright for ridiculously long times, locked up in vaults somewhere, little noticed and remembered. No one objects to his heirs making a few occasional dollars from them, but the occasions will be very few as time goes on. In the process, important facts of history will be forgotten.

Congress still has a lot of work to do about copyright; please keep the public interest in mind as you go about it.

JTHoot says:

We already have laws in place to handle copyright on the internet. They work just fine. The DMCA has all the provisions copyright holders need to protect their content, but they don’t like it because it puts responsibility on THEM. They have to prove their claims, they have to document evidence, and they can be sued for damages if they make a false claim and someone else loses cash because their content is wrongfully taken down. This push for tighter legislation is nothing but a desire to avoid ever being held accountable ever again.

We have to keep the pressure on Congress, but the next step is a boycott of the big industry players. Don’t go to the movies, don’t buy any music from mainstream artists, don’t buy DVDs of the big Hollywood blockbusters. Send that cash to independent creative types instead – not only do they need the money more, but they’re also our allies in this fight. Pushing Congress will only do so much: we need to hit the big media conglomerates in the pocket book, and keep doing it until they realize that the only solution is to back down and accept that they don’t get to bully the rest of us. That if they want to make money they have to deliver quality products in an accessible format, and that it’s innovation – not lawyers – that will let them profit in the digital age.

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