Piracy Bills Didn’t Know What Hit Them – Tech Thursday
Yesterday was the planned "Blackout" of websites all over the internet to protest and make people aware of the two bills working their way through Congress that they say would help protect American Intellectual Property that is being pirated over seas. Those bills are called The Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA and the Protect Intelectual Property Act, also known as PIPA. It was, by all measures, a success.
Even before the online protest, the bills were slowly losing their ground. The White House came out and said some parts of the bill were too restrictive and wouldn't support the bill as is. Then yesterday, some Congressional supports of the bills, dropped their support. And the MPAA, one of the organizations pushing the bill, headed by now former Senator Chris Dodd, was left holding a press release that no one really saw. All the while Facebook, Google, Twitter and Wikipedia, along with many others, were educating the masses about the bill. Even I made sure to get my voice heard. I emailed our New York Senators, Charles Schumer and Christine Gillabrand, and told them not to support these bills. Congressional phones were slammed with calls and emails poured into Inboxes all over Capital Hill.
There were not only protests online, but in Washington D.C. and many other cities as well, people braved the cold to make their feelings known on the bills too. One tweet I saw said, "If people will brave the cold in January, they'll brave the cold in November."
So where does it leave us today? Support for the bills, as they are now, have greatly reduced. And with the White Houses intentions now made clear, the bills will most likely get re worked to be more in line of what Silicon Valley is hoping for. But the companies like the Recording Industry of America and the Motion Picture Association of America, are still pushing for a bill. And they say they'll be out letting people know about their plight. I am sympathetic to their plight, but the bills as they were, did put security on the internet at risk. I hope everyone can find a common ground and these companies can get what they need to protect them, while not putting everyone at risk.