SOPA shelved by the White House until changes are made


Stop SOPAThose who’ve been losing sleep and substantial nail length over the controversial SOPA bill as of late can now loosen up and breathe a sigh of relief. Well for the time being that is. The Stop Online Piracy Act, for those of you who’ve had your head up your ass, is a bill which will seize domains companies claim are infringing on their copyrights if passed. Basically, it could kill the internet as we know it.

So, the latest SOPA news last weekend was that the White House published a letter that made it clear the executive branch would not back a bill unless it has considerable changes made to it that address concerns over online censorship.

Yep, Congress has agreed to shelve the vote on SOPA – introduced to the US House of Representatives by Rep. Lamar Smith in October last year – until everyone can agree on what’s best. Phewee.

However, it doesn’t look like this news will ease the debate. At all. Even with this news, it seems campaigners will not rest in their protest until the bill is finally put to sleep. For example, VentureBeat reports last weekend the hacktivist group, Anonymous, has began targeting mature media executives who are for the bill.

Anonymous apparently obtained posts with personal information about chairman and chief executive of Time Warner, Jeffrey Bewkes and then deliberated published them, which then set off a surge of nasty phone calls his home. Naughty.

However, it seems the big boys are retaliating. News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch used his Twitter account (or perhaps more accurately, got his staff to do it for him) to respond to the White House letter, stating: “So Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery.” Another Tweet read: “Piracy leader is Google who streams movies free, sells advts around them. No wonder pouring millions into lobbying.”

Not really getting a grasp of what search engines are about there, Murdoch. If you want something doing right, do it yourself. Or perhaps have the time to research first.

Google weren’t pulling any punches, though – lashing back out via a letter to tech news site CNET stating:

“This is just nonsense. Last year we took down 5 million infringing Web pages from our search results and invested more than $60 million in the fight against bad ads…We fight pirates and counterfeiters every day,” a Google spokeswoman said.

What next?

Well, perhaps more importantly for now there’s always SOPA’s partner in crime, PIPA to look out for. The vote on the Protect IP Act, which will give US corporations and the government the right to seek legal action with any website  it deems as enabling copyright infringement, is moving forward by Majority Leader Harry Reid.

24 January is the expected vote day, or more appropriately – “d-day” – so there’ll be plenty more drama before then, including the massive protest scheduled for later this week by the New York Tech Meetup, which is holding an emergency event for its more than 19,000 members outside the offices of Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

If you’re pissed about PIPA, remember, you can do something about it. Inform your state Senators and Congressmen of your disgust. Call them. Let them know you’re not happy. In fact, inform everyone you know to do the same, and sign as many online petitions as possible. Getting your voice heard is the only way we can but a stop to these bills and save the internet.