With Wikipedia and Reddit down, Google, Twitter and Mozillas’ logos blacked out and Hacktivist group Anonymous’ assaults on the Department of Justice, Finance, CBS and Universal Studios websites on the 18th of January, the world finally took notice of SOPA and PIPA. More importantly, so did the Senate.
Both bills have been postponed for debate, until ‘further consensus’, according to Rep. Lamar Smith, SOPA’s chief sponsor. “I have heard from the critics, and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy,” said Smith on Friday. “It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.”
The fight, however, is far from over. Markup for both bills has simply been pushed back to February, with Rep. Patrick Leahy, PIPA’s chief sponsor, adamant to push the bill forward. The “day will come when the Senators who forced this move will look back and realize they made a knee-jerk reaction to a monumental problem,” said Leahy in a press release. He said that he is still determined to address the problem of online piracy and wants to work with other members of Congress to “send a bill to the President’s desk this year.”
Whether the rapid withdrawal of Congressional support for both bills will have a lasting impact on the itinerant legislation will be determined in the next few weeks, as both houses wait for reports from expert committees on both bills for amendment proposals.