After much protest and drama, the Stop Online Piracy Act has been pulled by its proposer, Lamar Smith (R-Texas). Smith released a statement saying that he has heard from the critics and while something has to be done about online piracy, the approach clearly has to be revisited. The problem of foreign thieves stealing and selling American inventions and products still has to be dealt with.He said, “The problem of online piracy is too big to ignore. American intellectual property industries provide 19 million high-paying jobs and account for more than 60 percent of U.S. exports. The theft of America’s intellectual property costs the U.S. economy more than $100 billion annually and results in the loss of thousands of American jobs. Congress cannot stand by and do nothing while American innovators and job creators are under attack.”
Lamar Smith backs down from bill
Smith said that the online theft of intellectual property is no different than stealing products from a store and that the law should protect both the store and online. He said that the Committee will work with both, intellectual property holders and Internet companies as well as financial institutions to develop proposals to combat online piracy. He said, “We welcome input from all organizations and individuals who have an honest difference of opinion about how best to address this widespread problem. The Committee remains committed to finding a solution to the problem of online piracy that protects American intellectual property and innovation.“
The House Judiciary Committee will postpone consideration of the legislation, until there is wider agreement. This of course means that SOPA isn't entirely dead, it has just been pulled and ready for reworking. The bill, along with its cousin, the PIPA bill have created quite the stir in December and January. On the 29th of December, it was “Dump Go Daddy Day”, declared by a Reddit user in retaliation of the domain service's positive position on SOPA. In January, Reddit declared a black out for the 18th protest of SOPA. Wikipedia among other companies joined in on the black out. And when the FBI took down file sharing site, Megaupload on Thursday night hacktivist group, Anonymous got right back at SOPA proponents like Universal Music, the MPAA and RIAA by taking down their websites. They also took down the websites of the Department of Justice and the FBI.
Even though many Congress members had already backed out of supporting SOPA, just two days ago, Lamar Smith told the Wall Street Journal, that he had no intention of backing down from the bill. In his statement to WSJ, he dismissed that the bill could have lead to online censorship and that it's “easy to raise straw men and red herrings”.