Let the blackout begin.
What happened? It's 11:30 am EST and I'm posting!
I'm glad this site was a part of the blackout (well, grey-out for most of us still getting in )
Looks like we did some good:
PIPA support collapses, with 13 new Senators opposed
Members of the Senate are rushing for the exits in the wake of the Internet's unprecedented protest of the Protect IP Act (PIPA). At least 13 members of the upper chamber announced their opposition on Wednesday. In a particularly severe blow from Hollywood, at least five of the newly-opposed Senators were previously sponsors of the Protect IP Act.
The newly-opposed Senators are skewed strongly to the Republican side of the aisle. An Ars Technica survey of Senators' positions on PIPA turned up only two Democrats, Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who announced their opposition on Wednesday. The other 11 Senators who announced their opposition on Wednesday were all Republicans. These 13 join a handful of others, including Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), who have already announced their opposition.
Marco Rubio, a freshman Republican Senator from Florida who some consider to be a rising star, withdrew his sponsorship of the bill, citing "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." He urged the Senate to "avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences."
Another co-sponsor, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) echoed that sentiment. He blamed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for "pushing forward w/ a flawed bill that still needs much work."
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), one of the chamber's longest-serving members and another sponsor, described the Protect IP Act as "simply not ready for prime time."
The partisan slant of the defections is surprising because copyright has not traditionally been considered a partisan issue. Before Wednesday's protests, PIPA had 16 Republican co-sponsors and 23 Democratic ones. The bill lost a quarter of its Republican sponsors on Wednesday, while we know of only one Democrat, Ben Cardin (D-MD), who dropped his support.
Those who dropped their support were most likely bolstered by strong opposition from conservative think tanks and blogs. On Tuesday, the influential Heritage Foundation announced that it would include SOPA and PIPA as a key issue on its voter scorecard. And the popular conservative blog redstate.com, whose founder threatened to mount primary challengers to SOPA supporters last month, has been hailing Senators who come out in opposition.
Neither side is close to having a majority. A whip count by OpenCongress found 35 supporters (including 34 cosponsors), 18 opponents, and 12 more Senators leaning toward opposition. About 35 Senators have not committed to a position, perhaps reluctant to do so for fear of angering either deep-pocketed Hollywood campaign contributors or their constituents back home.
Here is the full list of new opponents. An * indicates a former sponsor.
Roy Blunt (R-MO) *
John Boozman (R-AR) *
Scott Brown (R-MA)
Ben Cardin (D-MD) *
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT) *
James Inhofe (R-OK)
Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Marco Rubio (R-FL) *
Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Update (7 PM): David Vitter (R-LA) is now also opposed. He was previously a co-sponsor of the legislation.
Update (9 PM): Three more opponents, all Republicans: Tom Coburn (R-OK), Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Mike Johanns (R-NE).
Update (10 PM): Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) is jumping on the bandwagon. She was a PIPA sponsor.
Really good description of what might happen.
What happened in Denmark.
7 years ago we got a child pornography filter on the Internet in Denmark. Some people said that it was a bad idea, but others said these people were just paedophiles, or trying to help paedophiles. Some people said that it was against our constitution, which it was. So the censorship was implemented in a way so it was formally (but not in reality) voluntary, which ensured that it was not formally a violation of our constitution.
Some people warned that once the censorship infrastructure was in place, it would most likely be used to censor other things. But they were told "Never! This is ONLY to prevent this horrible crime, and will never be used for other censorship."
Fast-forward a few years, and the Danish recording industry did not like allofmp3.com, so they went to court to get a court order against the Danish ISPs to start censoring allofmp3 off the Danish Internet. The judge basically said "ahh, you already have the infrastructure in place, so there will be no extra cost", and issued the order to censor allofmp3.com. It was not a violation of our constitution because it was ordered by a judge.
Since then other "pirate" sites have been censored. Most notably The Pirate Bay, which found out that the court would not even allow them to speak their case in court, or even submit a written brief.
Then our politicians found out that they wanted to protect and expand income from taxes. In particular the high taxes gambling providers pay. The official excuse was to limit the horrible disease of ludomania. So they decided that foreign gambling providers had to pay the taxes in Denmark too if they were on the Internet and could be seen in Denmark. If they refused to pay taxes, they should be censored off the Danish internet. So they passed a law saying that if a foreign gambling provider refused to pay taxes in Denmark, a court would - on the request of our government - have to order ISPs to censor its sites off the net, and payment processors to block all payments to it. If an ISP does not censor, or a payment processor or bank does not block payment, hefty fines are issued.
Now our politicians worry that some foreign companies selling medicines on the net are not licensed to sell medicines in Denmark. So they are preparing new legislation that will censor these sites off the net, and block payments to them.
So our Internet censorship started a few years ago with a very limited purpose and good intentions. And it was solemnly promised that nothing else than child pornography would be censored.
But once the infrastructure for censorship was in place, the censorship started spreading to other areas. And the censorship is getting more and more widespread.