Following the large public backlash against the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and its senate equivalents, Protect IP Act (PIPA), the two key sponsors behind the bills have postponed the vote indefinitely, until wider agreement can be reached on the hot topic of web piracy.The Internet organized day of action
on January 18 saw thousands of websites blacked out for extended periods to protest SOPA and PIPA, a day of action that was also joined by tech heavyweights Google and Wikipedia. The tech sector has been increasingly vocal against SOPA due to what they perceive as an overreaching bill that harms innovation.
Rep Lamar Smith (R-Texas), sponsor of SOPA, said that the concerns put forward by the tech sector will be re-examined. "I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy. It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products," Smith said in a statement.
The tech sector welcomed the news. "We appreciate that lawmakers have listened to our community's concerns, and we stand ready to work with them on solutions to piracy and copyright infringement that will not chill free expression or threaten the economic growth and innovation the Internet provides," said a spokesperson for Facebook.
But Hollywood, a key backer of both bills, was incensed that both bills appears to have been shelved. "As a consequence of failing to act, there will continue to be a safe haven for foreign thieves," argued Chris Dodd, the Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America. Dodd also threatened politicians coming out against the bill, warning that "Hollywood" will punish them by denying them campaign donations. "Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk," Dodd added.