In response to widespread public outcry, website blackouts, petitions and more, proponents of the SOPA and PIPA bills are falling at the wayside, with more people joining the protestors in calling for neither to pass.
January 18th saw over 7,000 popular websites replace their content with a simple black screen with most leaving a small message that decried SOPA and encouraged people to contact their representatives to request that they don’t support either bill. This move by internet denizens saw the biggest swing in support for both acts, PIPA losing eight senators, two of which were some of its biggest advocates.
Marco Rubio from Florida and Roy Blunt from Missouri were the two news worthy senators to remove themselves publicly from backing PIPA and SOPA. Mr Rubio posted on Facebook to explain his reasons, stating: “Earlier this year, this bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and without controversy. Since then, we’ve heard legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government’s power to impact the Internet. Congress should listen and avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences.”
“Therefore, I have decided to withdraw my support for the Protect IP Act. Furthermore, I encourage Senator Reid to abandon his plan to rush the bill to the floor. Instead, we should take more time to address the concerns raised by all sides, and come up with new legislation that addresses Internet piracy while protecting free and open access to the Internet.”
While this has pleased lots of people that were pushing to block SOPA, many have also argued that if Mr Rubio had read the bill properly at the outset that he would have spotted the problems himself.