ALBANY, N.Y. – Co-sponsors of the PIPA bill, Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), indicated via Facebook that the bills will be pulled and reworked after intense public pushback. The bills were set to go to vote next week.
“You've been heard. PIPA has been pulled so we can find a better solution,” Schumer said Friday morning. Within an hour the comment garnered 370 “likes,” 90 comments and 98 shares.
Comments on Schumer's status are continual, and range from victorious to vitriolic. Just one week ago the senator was using the same venue to emphasize the importance of protecting U.S. intellectual property.
The Protect IP Act, and the Stop Online Piracy Act, PIPA and SOPA respectively, caused waves of protests across the Internet, and across the state of New York. Google blacked out its name, Flickr darkened shared photos, Reddit was taken down and Wikipedia was unusable. The New York City offices of co-sponsors Senators Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand were protested.
Tech companies have argued that provisions in the bill, including the Domain Name System (DNS) provision, would create an Internet black list in its attempts to stifle ongoing foreign piracy. Search engines would be forced to exclude search result links to websites which carry pirated content, and could be on the hook for facilitating theft of intellectual property. Many tech bloggers and companies say sites like YouTube would go dark immediately, because it would be impossible to police the millions of videos uploaded every day.
Tech companies have also said that the congressional supporters of these bills do not understand the architecture of the Internet, and the implications of the bill’s broad language. The bills once enjoyed bipartisan support, buoyed by content creators such as the Motion Picture Association of America.
Congressional support withered from the embattled bills since Wednesday, and the future of SOPA and PIPA is uncertain at best. It is unknown how long it could take to rework the bills, and the pair has now become the focal point of public and Internet media scrutiny.
Gillibrand called the public outcry against the bills “democracy in action,” on her Facebook. Her status read, “Make no mistake, we must act to protect the theft of intellectual property that costs our economy billions in revenue -- but we must get it right without unintended consequences that could stifle the Internet.”