SOPA Anti-Piracy Controversy Exposes Hollywood-Silicon Valley Divide
SOPA Anti-Piracy Controversy Exposes Hollywood-Silicon Valley Divide

UPDATE (3:43 p.m.):
House Speaker John Boehner said the SOPA and PIPA bills were not ready to go to a vote in Congress, according to the Wall Street Journal, while the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Orrin Hatch (Utah), released a statement Wednesday deeming the PIPA bill that is currently in the Senate "simply not ready for prime time," and urging his colleagues to "continue working together to find a better path forward."

These admissions come as at least six lawmakers have abandoned their support of the legislation Wednesday amid protests from Google, Wikipedia, Craigslist and other web sites against the proposed bills.

Additionally, though Facebook did not take part in any blackout today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a statement via his personal Facebook page, stating that Facebook is against the two bills and that "the world today needs political leaders who are pro-internet," before directing users to a site that outlined the company's position on online piracy (screen shot below).

zuckerberg

UPDATE (2:51 p.m.):
The latest reports as of Wednesday afternoon indicate that at least six legislators have dropped their support of the anti-piracy SOPA and PIPA bills now under consideration by Congress.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Co-sponsors Senators Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, and Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat will no longer support their own legislation. On the house side, Republican Representatives Ben Quayle of Arizona, Lee Terry of Nebraska, and Dennis Ross of Florida also withdrawing their support of the House bill.

The report interestingly cited social media sources: a Facebook post today by Sen. Rubio that said that the bill could create a "potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government's power to impact the Internet"; and a tweet by Congressman Ross (see below) that said he could no longer support the house bill.

google

Representative Dennis Ross (R-FL) tweets that "#SOPA is dead".


SOPA 'Blackout' Sites Include Google, Wikipedia, WordPress in Protest Against Anti-Piracy Bills

You know the protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has gone mainstream when the headline of the Drudge Report on Wednesday morning reads, "Hands Off the Internet!"

Numerous Internet companies engaged in a "blackout" protest Wednesday against two anti-piracy bills, SOPA and its counterpart in the Senate, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). The bills are supported by the RIAA, MPAA and countless other creative and business organizations.

A handful of leading Internet sites are showing that fear is a great motivator. The logo on Google's home page is covered by a black rectangle. Following the link takes the reader to an "End Piracy, Not Liberty" page with information on the bills and an online petition.

At Wikipedia, a black welcome screen asks the visitor to "Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge" and warns that Congress is "considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet." The page offers a zip code-lookup that returns the contact information of a visitor's local representatives.

Craigslist's home page contains the questionable warning that "News Corp, RIAA, MPAA, Nike, Sony, Comcast, VISA & others" want a world without Craigslist, Wikipedia and Google. A page with information about SOPA contains the dubious charge that neither SOPA nor PIPA contain provisions for judicial oversight or due process.

Other companies taking part in Wednesday's protest are WordPress, Reddit and Mozilla. Some of the bills' opponents - such as Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo! and LinkedIn - decided not to disturb their users' experiences for the sake of the protest.

The one-day protest is likely to rally even more opposition to the anti-piracy bills that had previously enjoyed widespread support in both houses of Congress. That support has started to erode, and House and Senate leaders have indicated they will pull from the bills provisions that would give content creators the ability to obtain a court order to require ISPs and search engines to block access to foreign-operated websites found to engage in piracy.