Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) Pulled from U.S. House Amid Protests
The main sponsor of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House, Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, has postponed all action on the legislation. Smith pulled the measure from consideration “until there is wider agreement on a solution.”
“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy,” Smith told Reuters by phone on Friday. Shortly before Smith’s decision to withdraw SOPA for the time being, the U.S. Senate announced that it would delay its own measure, the Protect Intellectual Property Act.
The decisions come two days after dozens of leading websites – such as Wikipedia and Google – either went completely dark or otherwise protested the government’s bid to alter the flow of online content. SOPA’s intent is to protect copyright holders from digital piracy.
But critics of the proposed measure believe it will irrevocably damage the nature of the Internet with censorship and overregulation.
On Thursday, the Department of Justice shut down the enormous file-sharing site MegaUpload, after which the hacker collective Anonymous took down the Department’s own site, along with sites for major SOPA backers such as Universal Music, the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America.