SOPA Blackouts Draw Congressional Responses

(Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine) – Just how successful were yesterday’s anti-SOPA/PIPA themed Internet blackouts? Well, they were strong enough to possibly sway the stances of critical Capitol Hill lawmakers and elicit some strong reactions.

During the course of yesterday, popular internet sites including Wikipedia, Reddit, and WordPress.com blacked out their services in protest of current controversial anti-piracy legislation being considered by Congress.

In the U.S. Senate, freshman Florida Senator Marco Rubio pulled his support for the Protect IP Act, commenting on the matter via his Facebook page. “I have decided to withdraw my support for the Protect IP Act. Furthermore, I encourage Senator Reid to abandon his plan to rush the bill to the floor,” Rubio stated.

He continued, “Instead, we should take more time to address the concerns raised by all sides, and come up with new legislation that addresses Internet piracy while protecting free and open access to the Internet.” According to a CNN report, Rubio was originally one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has scheduled a cloture vote on the Protect IP Act for next Tuesday.

Another to back off his support for the bill included Missouri Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) who referred to the legislation as “flawed” via his Twitter page.

Meanwhile, Senators Rubio and Blunt were just two of many other lawmakers to back away from supporting the Protect IP Act. According to a report from Forbes, U.S. Senators switching their stances totaled eighteen. Others included the likes of Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Jim DeMint (R-SC).

During the course of yesterday, SOPA/PIPA opponents encouraged online visitors to contact their Washington representatives to voice concerns regarding the legislation. The Protect IP Act (PIPA) is the U.S. Senate’s version of the bill while the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is the U.S. House’s version of the bill.

While the legislation is strongly opposed by tech innovators in the Internet community who argue that passage of the bills would limit free speech on the web, they receive significant backing from those in the film and music industry.

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