Welcome back. We were dark today to protest two flawed legislative proposals, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act.
The administration today hinted at a threat to veto SOPA, while several senators have withdrawn support for PIPA in response to the blackout protests around the Internet:
Co-sponsors who say they can no longer support their own legislation include Senators Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, and Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat. Republican Representatives Ben Quayle of Arizona, Lee Terry of Nebraska, and Dennis Ross of Florida also said they would withdraw their backing of the House bill.
Rubio said he switched his position on the Senate measure, the Protect IP Act, after examining opponents’ contention that it would present a “potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government’s power to impact the Internet,” according to a posting today on Facebook. Blunt said in a statement today he is withdrawing as a co-sponsor of the Senate bill.
The Washington Monthly explains the administration's volte face on SOPA:
The White House didn’t issue a veto threat, per se, but the administration’s chief technology officials concluded, “We will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.” The statement added that any proposed legislation “must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet.” The White House’s position left SOPA and PIPA, at least in their current form, effectively dead.
The state of play in the Senate is a little different — a PIPA vote is likely next Tuesday — but even in the upper chamber, the bill is quickly losing friends. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) announced his opposition yesterday, and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a former co-sponsor of PIPA, is also now against it.
The President did, however, shut down the Keystone XL pipeline (at least for now).
So, in all, this was a pretty good day for the people.
Update: Via Coding Horror, Mozilla Foundation Chair Mitchell Baker has a great description of why PIPA and SOPA are so awful.