Senate support collapses for PIPA, SOPA rival introduced to House
As thirteen senators announced their opposition to PIPA, the controversial bill before the United States senate that aimed to address non-US websites that pirated movies, music and more, a new bill has been introduced.
The Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), which has been called the Stop Online Piracy Act’s (SOPA) sister legislation, aimed to prevent US companies from assistance to foreign websites that hosted pirated content, with assistance including funding, advertising and links, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Both bills have undergone a number of changes following widespread criticism, and today at least 13 senators announced their opposition to the PIPA bill today, with five previously sponsors of the bill, Ars Technica reported.
Eleven of the senators were Republican, with two Democratic, Ars Technica said.
Republican senator from Florida Marco Rubio, previously a sponsor, said there were legitimate concerns about the impact of the bill on access to the Internet, and about the “potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government’s power to impact the Internet,” Ars Technica reported
Forbes reported that Mr Rubio had written on his Facebook page that congress should listen to these concerns and avoid rushing through a bill which could have “many unintended consequences.”
In withdrawing his support, he encouraged Senator Harry Reid to abandon his plan to rush the bill to the senate 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.”
Speaking of new legislation, representative and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa , along with 24 co-sponsors, introduced the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) act to the House of Representatives, PC World reported.
A Senate version of the act was introduced in December, it said.
Mr Issa, said earlier in the week that the hearing for the SOPA bill, scheduled for Wednesday, had been postponed, and that the Leader of the House of Representatives Eric Cantor had assured him that “we will continue to work to address outstanding concerns and work to build consensus prior to any anti-piracy legislation coming before the House for a vote.”
The OPEN Act would allow copyright owners to file complaints about infringement on foreign websites with the United States International Trade Commission, PC World said.
“By contrast, SOPA would allow the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders to seek court orders requiring payment processors and ad networks to stop doing business with foreign websites accused by the plaintiffs of copyright infringement.”
Mr Issa said the Internet blackout had underscored the flawed approach taken by SOPA and PIPA to the problem of IP infringement.
“OPEN is a smarter way to protect taxpayers' rights while protecting the Internet."
Lead sponsor of SOPA Representative Lamar Smith said the OPEN Act did not to enough to stop the loss of billions due to online piracy and that it made the Internet even more open to “foreign thieves that steal America’s technology and intellectual property without protecting US businesses and consumers,” PC World reported.
"The proposal amounts to a safe harbor for foreign criminals who steal American technology, products and intellectual property," Mr Smith said.