After more than 7,000 high-traffic websites — including Wikipedia, Reddit, Google, Amazon and others — blacked out and/or supported the protest of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) on Wednesday (January 18), several co-sponsors of the Senate bill withdrew their support … thus stopping the attempt at web censorship in its tracks … for now.
According to reports, supporters such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Orinn Hatch (R-Utah) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) all withdrew, trying to to distance themselves from the legislation simply because the people demanded it.
Wikipedia went dark at midnight and several other Internet giants did as well, while major players like Google and Facebook.com took a seat on the bench, but did place banners in support of the protest.
Google blacked out its logo, for example; and Amazon and Craigslist posted stark messages blasting the bills.
Internet companies argue that the legislation hinders innovation, violates free speech and could be used to shut down legitimate websites. Ultimately, it could give the U.S. government almost free reign of shutting down sites at their leisure.
The Senate bill for SOPA and PIPA were slated to come up for a vote on January 24, but it has lost traction.
However, according to Forbes.com, Lamar Smith (the Texas representative who first introduced SOPA in October) has called the blackout a “publicity stunt” and promised to reintroduce the bill to the House for discussion in February. So, make to keep your eyes and ears open on this one, because it seem as if the battle is over.
In withdrawing his supporter Florida Senator Marco Rubio, explained why in a Facebook post, saying the bill should “not be rushed.”
“Earlier this year, this bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and without controversy. Since then, we’ve heard legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government’s power to impact the Internet,” Rubio wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday morning. “Congress should listen and avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences.”