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The Internet Has Spoken

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as depicated by Reuters

Reuters reports that Congress has suddenly halted it’s rampant march toward voting on the Stop Online Piracy Act (and its sister, Protect IP Act) today. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said he would postpone the January 24 vote that had been scheduled “in light of recent events”. Lamar Smith, Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, followed suit.

This really delivers a win for all those involved in the online protests that erupted earlier this week. Tweets of Hallelujah will be broadcast as both US political parties revisit tackling online piracy. If a new bill is drafted, hopefully it will be done by political representatives who no longer refer to “the Internets” as a “series of tubes.”

This happened just hours after the FBI shut down Megaupload, a celebritiy- and musician-endorsed file-sharing site that accounted for 4% of all Internet traffic, for having discovered pirated material on its servers located in Ashburn, VA. If this doesn’t exemplify that the current online laws in place work, I don’t know what does.

Similar bills such as PRO-IP have been passed over the years after persistant lobbying by publishers in the entertainment industry, such as the RIAA and MPAA, as well as pharmaceutical companies. All attribute billions of dollars in annually lost revenue from online piracy.

Technology companies put up a counter-point that, with each new set of bills, Internet freedoms would be curbed in favor for industrial security. The proposed laws would be difficult to enforce and at the same time make vulnerable Internet bussinesses and users for frivolous lawsuits.

This past Wednesday, with blackouts among sites such as Wikipedia, Mozilla, Google, Facebook, and Twitter, public sentiment agreed. Several political sponsors of SOPA and PIPA immediately backed down and Senator Reid did not provide a date for a future vote.

To read more about Reuters’ coverage, click here.
For the big list of Internet sites that went dark, see SOPA strike.
The AP has coverage of the Death of MegaUpload while some people will never be satisfied.
Just how out of the loop are some of our leaders?