SOPA Support Goes Sour
Jan 19, 2012 5:00 AM PT
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) appears to be reeling in the face of growing opposition.
Internet heavyweights like Wikipedia, Google and Facebook have demonstrated their opposition to the proposed legislation, in some cases protesting by temporarily blocking users from accessing content.
A broad swathe of organizations from both the left and right sides of the political spectrum have come out against SOPA, and antipathy to the legislation appears to be growing.
Meanwhile, some members of congress have reportedly begun pulling their support for the bill. It could be that the growing opposition has forced some lawmakers to rethink their positions.
The high-tech industry has also held several briefings recently for congress regarding the bill, which may have led some lawmakers to change their stances.
"The legislation is well-intentioned, and I would personally like to think that anyone who is withdrawing support has thought about the issue more deeply and has some new concerns that they'd like to address," Meg Marco, executive editor of The Consumerist, told TechNewsWorld.
Lawmakers Lollop Off Into SOPA Sunset
Lawmakers such as Representative Lee Terry and Senator Ben Cardin have reportedly said they'll withdraw their backing for SOPA.
High-Tech Players Clobber SOPA
Many Internet players have made no bones about their opposition to SOPA.
Wikipedia, Reddit and Boing Boing have blacked out their sites; Google has blacked out its logo on its home page; Mozilla has darkened the start page for its Firefox browser and included a call to action; Facebook has criticized the bill; and Craigslist steered users to a page with a black background bearing a message on the issue in white, for example.
On Wednesday, a protest was reportedly held outside the offices of Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
Non-Techies Can Play, Too
Groups outside the tech industry are also up in arms against SOPA.
Heritage Action, a nonprofit advocacy group aligned with the conservative Heritage Foundation, has stated its opposition. Campaign finance watchdogs Public Campaign and Public Campaign Action Fund have blacked out their sites in protest against SOPA.
The White House has already come out against the proposed legislation.
Complaints against SOPA "are more matters of policy than technology," Richard Bennett, a senior research fellow at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), told TechNewsWorld.
ITIF contends that the technology behind SOPA is sound.
The People Are Speaking
More than 30,000 people are claimed to have pledged to use their votes to defeat attempts to censor the Internet within the first 12 hours of the new site's launch.
Demand Progress is left-leaning and Don't Censor the Net right-leaning, but that makes no difference to them.
"I would like to see our government in general become more well-versed on technology issues, and I hope this bi-partisan effort [to oppose SOPA] has been educational both to them and to consumers," Consumerist.com's Marco remarked.