The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its senate-version counterpart, PROTECT IP (PIPA), are poorly thought-out, ineffective measures that completely miss the mark in their aims to address Internet piracy and copyright infringement. And yesterday, the amassing opposition to these bills won a small victory: Senator Leahy, one of the main sponsors of PIPA, blinked. He backpedaled. Senator Leahy officially committed to an amendment that would investigate the effects of his bill before it’s instituted:
“Through this process, [I] have continued to hear concerns about the Domain Name provision from engineers, human rights groups, and others. I remain confident that the ISPs — including the cable industry, which is the largest association of ISPs — would not support the legislation if its enactment created the problems that opponents of this provision suggest. Nonetheless, this is in fact a highly technical issue, and I am prepared to recommend we give it more study before implementing it.”
It would seem the most knowledgeable people in the world about the Domain Name System and how the proposed technology would impact the Internet — whom are vocal in their opposition to the bills — are finally getting through to Leahy and other legislators. This list of folks includes us, the world’s largest DNS provider. OpenDNS stands firmly against SOPA and PIPA. I’ve spent time in Washington D.C. in an effort to educate decision makers about the detriments that lie ahead should the bills pass. I’ve authored and signed letters. I’ve blogged and spoken out. And our efforts are working.
It’s critically important that Leahy follows through on his commitment, and that everyone in the technical community continues to use their expertise to educate non-technical government officials associated with the bills. Because while Leahy appears to be acknowledging that his bill is imperfect, SOPA co-sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith is standing his ground. “It is amazing to me that the opponents apparently don’t want to protect American consumers and businesses,” he told Reuters. Sadly, his rhetoric couldn’t be further from the truth. Hopefully someone on his staff will show him this blog post to point out the ridiculousness of his bill.
So, a small victory, but for now the battle against both bills rages on.
If you want to get involved, AmericanCensorship.org is an excellent resource.