January 18, 2012

Mother Jones puts on the rose-coloured glasses over SOPA

Filed under: Law, Liberty, Media, Politics, USA — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:07

In an otherwise good summary of the SOPA/PIPA issues in Mother Jones, Siddhartha Mahanta and Nick Baumann start the touchdown celebration prematurely:

Late Thursday, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the lead sponsor of the House bill, announced that he would consider dropping the DNS-blocking provisions from the bill. Late on Friday, Smith, SOPA’s sponsor, did Leahy one better, removing the provision altogether. Not long after, six Republican senators — including two co-sponsors — released a letter they wrote to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), asking him to hold off on a January 24th vote to end debate on PIPA and move to passage.

By this weekend, the writing was on the wall. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House Majority Leader, announced that SOPA would not come for a vote in the House before the controversy over the bill is resolved — essentially killing it for the time being. The White House issued a statement opposing significant portions of the bills. And Issa cancelled the hearing planned for Wednesday, saying he’s “confident” the bill is dead in the House.

Big Hollywood isn’t entirely beaten yet. PIPA, the Senate legislation, could still get a vote and move closer to becoming law, and a modified version of SOPA could conceivably come to the House floor at some point in the future. Wikipedia, Reddit, MoveOn.org, Mozilla (the maker of the Firefox web browser), the blogging platform WordPress, and others are still planning to go dark on Wednesday, just in case. But as of right now, a combination of grassroots activism, blogging, tweeting, boycotts, and the mere threat of having to scroll through 1500 LOLCats without Icanhazcheezburger (another boycott supporter), seems to have beaten an avalanche of money and lobbying. Those 1950s onion farmers would be proud.

Keep your powder dry, boys: the battle is far from won. This is just the latest skirmish in an ongoing campaign, and premature celebration of the victory is just what we don’t need.

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