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SOPA Goes Back To the Drawing Board, PIPA Postponed 267

New submitter rivin2e writes "SOPA has been sent back to the drawing board. 'The move came shortly after the Senate postponed a key vote on the companion PIPA bill scheduled for next week and amid calls for consensus before Congress moves forward on any legislation to address the problem of foreign piracy websites,' as written by the Los Angeles Times today. Hopefully the next draft of this bill will create a better foundation to stop piracy and not just assert control over the internet." Support for the bill eroded on Wednesday as several of its co-sponsors withdrew their support. The issue is not over, however; statements were issued by both Senator Patrick Leahy and Rep. Lamar Smith indicating that they still want to find solutions to online piracy, and Smith also wrote an editorial piece for CNN to explain why he thinks such legislation is necessary. The SOPA issue was raised at the recent GOP debate, and all four candidates spoke against it.
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SOPA Goes Back To the Drawing Board, PIPA Postponed

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  • Likely answer... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:16PM (#38766710)
    The most likely answer is this: too many people knew what was being planned. We can't have people knowing about the laws that attack their rights and freedoms, can we?
  • by Deathnerd ( 1734374 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:19PM (#38766746)
    We need innovation from the media companies; they need to embrace the digital platform and build distribution systems around it. Piracy will drop drastically if they make the media easy and cheap to buy.
  • by KiltedKnight ( 171132 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:21PM (#38766778) Homepage Journal

    So Congress backed out until things cool down and they can try again... whether it's by reintroducing this same stuff or by attaching it, piece by piece, as riders to other bills.

    We cannot turn down the heat. If we do, we will find this legislation passed before we can do anything about it.

  • Obviously! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:21PM (#38766784)

    Of COURSE all four candidates at the GOP debate spoke against it. It's election season. Don't worry though, their tune will change back to normal as soon as elections are over.

    lol: captcha - citizen. As if citizens have a say in anything.

  • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:22PM (#38766794)

    We all know how politics work. We all know that stuff like this will keep coming up. We all know that we can't reasonably turn out with the same show of opposition every time this sort of thing happens. But, at least for a moment, I'm going to enjoy the fact that things went well for once in politics.

    And even if we can't get that level of support every time this sort of thing comes around, I'm not going to worry about that. I'm just going to worry about the next time, because that's the one that matters right now.

  • by kaellinn18 ( 707759 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:22PM (#38766802) Homepage Journal
    Here's the scariest thing I've read: Lamar Smith is also the sponsor of H.R. 1981 Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 (info: []). What someone on Reddit suggested might happen (and I see as all too plausible) is that they will modify the text of SOPA/PIPA a bit and tack it on to this bill. If that happens, it is going to pass in a landslide because no one wants to be seen as supporting child pornography. They will pass this bill without even reading it. We HAVE to keep on top of this and make sure that they don't try to sneak one by us. This is just the beginning, and it is going to get very ugly.
  • by luther349 ( 645380 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:26PM (#38766862)
    look what they managed to do to megaupload without any bills. all they want to do with these bills is skip the need to acully go threw the normal channels to make that happen. and i think that's what put the death nail in these bills anyways.
  • Small victory (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nethemas the Great ( 909900 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:28PM (#38766898)
    But now isn't the time to rest, this crap will come back around, always does. Keep watch on any major "must not fail, do it for the Children/Military", type bills. If it can't make it on its own it'll show up as a rider on one of those.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:28PM (#38766904)

    This is just the beginning, and it is going to get very ugly.

    Where have you been? Because it's hardly the beginning. But there is a long hard road ahead of us.

  • by LordNimon ( 85072 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:29PM (#38766914)

    This isn't just about media. The bill is also meant to target counterfeit manufactured goods, like fake Prada handbags shipped directly from China. Allowing companies to quickly block the Chinese web sites would curtail counterfeiting, but as many have said, the bill is too broad and too easy to abuse.

    It used to be that you had to go to China, or some secret dinky store in Chinatown, to buy fake Chinese-made goods. Thanks to e-commerce, you can do that from the comfort of your own home. Perhaps SOPA needs to apply to credit card companies instead of web sites. Imagine if Prada could just tell Visa to block payments to without going through law enforcement. I bet Visa would hate that, because then Visa would be have to deal with abuses, instead of dozens of small ISPs.

  • by liquidweaver ( 1988660 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:31PM (#38766956)

    Maybe the problem is having a business model that is incompatible with sharing of information.

    From the inception of the information revolution, information became easy to copy. It will be that way until you take away all computers and networks.

    The real question - is there something we can do to reduce the damages these powerful industries do, while kicking and screaming on their way to irrelevance?

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:31PM (#38766962)

    They'll just attach a quiet rider to the next appropriations bill in the middle of the night. Then everyone can pull that phoney Obama "Well, I didn't *want* to support it--but since it was tied to that really important appropriations bill, I felt I *had* to vote for it/not veto it" shit.

  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:32PM (#38766968)
    No, you see the DMCA makes it the copyright holders job to go after offenders. That clearly isn't aceptable. So these new bills make it Google and other like serves responsable for blocking entire sections of the internet that have been deemed as naughty. Much less effort on the part of the media conglomerates, even if it is an unreasonable request to make of search engines, forums, etc.

    For example, it would become the responsibility of SlashDot to prevent all posts that link to or mention the Pirate Bay. That's much easier then having to admit that our laws dont have effect in Norway.
  • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:32PM (#38766974)
    just put the copyright terms back to the length thought fair by our founding fathers: 28 years after publication.

    Doing so would eliminate a lot of piracy, overnight, and at no cost to the taxpayer.
  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:34PM (#38766994)

    My sense is that what they're fighting for isn't an "end to piracy" but a way to legislate their profit margins.

    It seems obvious to me that for $20 a month for unlimited viewing subscriptions of all titles or $5 per title to own (via download) they could really put a crimp in piracy, but they would have to accept a permanently reduced profit margin.

    That doesn't build beach houses in Malibu, mansions in Bel-Air, private jet airfare or put Bentley Continentals in a lot of driveways.

    By re-defining piracy as "any act of copyrighted content consumption without a license for the specific act of consumption" they will be able to finally achieve per per consumption, legislated in law, which will in turn allow them to guarantee margins by controlling the price.

  • by Tha_Big_Guy23 ( 603419 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:37PM (#38767024)
    the US government to stop thinking they can police the world.

    If overseas pirating operations are what's causing all the ruckus, I don't see what passing stringent laws within the US borders will do to accomplish this task. It could just be me, but it seems that what the plan is with both of these acts is to try and police what happens on the internet worldwide. The United States has no business regulating the internet internationally. If they want to regulate it within their borders, that's the government's realm. Outside of the US, there's not one damn thing the US should be doing other than cooperating with other global governments to begin their own enforcement policies.

    Not that I'm advocating internet regulation here, it just seems that the reasoning behind the acts is flawed, as is most of the data. I, myself, have created several copyrighted works, which found their way stolen and posted here and there. Sure it pissed me off, but as the person who owned the copyrights, it was my job to do the foot work responsible for making sure that either the content was taken down, or I was given appropriate attribution.

    Going back to my primary point in posting, the US government, and US-based corporations needs to stop thinking that the US government is responsible for policing the world on any level.

    That's just my $0.02.
  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:39PM (#38767056) Homepage

    let the old business model die. With all the free market touting these old farts sure like to prop up failing business models.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:48PM (#38767180)

    The biggest problems with SOPA and PIPA is that they focus heavily on enforcement and punishment measures rather than addressing the causes of piracy.

    If things like "competition" and "capitalism" are supposed to drive supply and demand, it seems to me that the "demand" side of the equation is saying a couple things to media companies:

    1) Your product is too expensive
    2) Your product is too inconvenient to use

    Remember when CDs came out back in the late 80's/early 90s? Duplication costs were said to be lower, so the cost of music was supposed to go down. But it didn't - it went up. Profit margins soared. Consumers noticed.

    eBooks are going through the same thing now. If I buy an eBook for my Nook from B&N, say Lee Child's "Die Trying", I pay as much for the eBook as I do for the paperback. But the paperback actually costs more to produce, with manufacturing costs, shipping costs, etc.

    So a price adjustment is needed - and maybe, just maybe, those writing the laws should look at writing something to address price fixing instead.

    Similarly, if I purchase "Die Trying", it's convenient to download to my device. It's inconvenient to put on my wife's Nook - but if we had the paperback version on our bookshelf, we could each pick it up and read it when we want. B&N allows you to lend a book to an individual exactly *once* for a fixed period of time, and then never again. So if we both liked it and wanted to have it available, we have to pay for it twice.

    Congress needs to address causes, not effects, when they write laws. SOPA and PIPA are bad largely because they address the effects of piracy and focus heavily on punishment and enforcement rather than addressing the underlying causes.

  • by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:49PM (#38767186)
    Our current bill of rights doesn't contain an 'except on a computer' clause, so it is sufficient. Specifically, the clauses about free speech and unreasonable search.

    We don't need a new one; we just need to remind our legislators that the bill of rights still exists.
  • by ifiwereasculptor ( 1870574 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:53PM (#38767250)

    The problem is you can't keep people enraged, shocked and surprised by any significant amount of time. So they will vote again, again and again, and once we stop making such a ruckus (because, frankly we have other things to do), it will pass. Even if we never yield, a new generation of internet users will come that, if not supportive, is already used to the idea of internet control, so they will not be shocked enough to voice their concerns so loudly. That's how these things almost always go and how society gradually changes its most ingrained values, for better or for worse.

  • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @04:55PM (#38767282) Homepage Journal

    Fuck Chris Dodd with a baseball bat wrapped in constantine wire.

    Legislature is not a military maneuver, you WANT to give the opposition time to "mobilize"

  • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:12PM (#38767524)
    I'd agree with that. If copyright holders don't respect the rights of users (via DRM, validation keys, EULAs, etc. and copyright extensions for existing works), why should users respect the rights of copyright holders?
  • by Wolfling1 ( 1808594 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:17PM (#38767600) Journal
    Selective enforcement is a major issue for most countries at the moment. The 'policing forces' have too much power, and too much discriminatory use of that power. It results in significant police corruption, and waters down the prosecution of real crime.

    SOPA and PIPA are just part of the ongoing battle between the authoritarians and the libertarians. That battle is not one that will easily go away, and nor should it. It is through this path that our society achieves balance in its legal system.
  • by El Fantasmo ( 1057616 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:22PM (#38767650)

    How on god's green earth did get shutdown yesterday without SOPA and PIPA as laws? Seems to me, there are already systems in place to take sites offline in the US when they MAYBE break US copyright laws.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:32PM (#38767770) Homepage

    Even if we never yield, a new generation of internet users will come that, if not supportive, is already used to the idea of internet control, so they will not be shocked enough to voice their concerns so loudly. That's how these things almost always go and how society gradually changes its most ingrained values, for better or for worse.

    Or maybe it's a new generation that take those freedoms as natural and essential. I'm still in my early 30s and yet when I grew up, we didn't have Internet until in my teens. Up until 1990 Norway had a total of one TV station, unless you had a satellite dish or was close to the Swedish border. I didn't have a cell phone until my late teens and calling out of the country - anything an American would call long distance - was expensive as hell. Yes you might say it was the Computer Age when PCs became common but it was in no way the Information Age that came later. Even if the Internet is a little less wild west than it was in the beginning, there's some 50 years worth of people older than me that never expected there to be an Internet at all. And if we count the voting population then only about 15 years of younger voters. We're very far from reaching a balance so even if those who join now are less radical than before I strongly doubt the Internet population as a whole is growing more conservative. Quite the opposite.

  • by misexistentialist ( 1537887 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:36PM (#38767814)
    Luxury goods providers do not merit the attention of a democratic government, certainly not the intrusive intervention into the affairs of the masses.
  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:44PM (#38767882)

    Your translation is right. Dodd is lots of bad things but one thing he is not is an unskilled politician.

    He knows that if you want to pass legislation that might gain opposition, you want to do it quickly and without giving your opposition an opportunity to rally against it.

    You want to introduce a bill, let people know it's simple, keeps jobs in America, protects children from harm and should be passed right away.

  • Re:Obviously! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:52PM (#38767990)

    Why was this modded troll? It IS election season, and every politician is going to say anything they can right now that makes people not hate them, whether they believe it or not.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) * on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:56PM (#38768050)

    SOPA and PIPA are just part of the ongoing battle between the authoritarians and the libertarians.

    Its not that simple, and never has been much of an ideological battle along traditional party lines. This is a money grab, pure and simple.

    The problem is the copyright laws have been extended to the breaking point, and the breaking is happening before our very eyes.

    Duration of copyright for things written today is 70 years after the death of author. If a work of corporate authorship, 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever expires first. All benefit to society has been lost.

    Society is in general revolt over the current copyright law terms. The man in the street realizes the media giants have gone too far, but some how congress can't see it yet. Maybe they are just starting to see there is a problem.

    But by and large most in congress won't see the real problem. They are blinded by the money. Until we convince enough people to stop voting the same clowns into office each time they stand for election. Term limits puts an end to this nonsense.

  • by Creepy ( 93888 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @05:57PM (#38768072) Journal

    It's not that SOPA/PIPA is a bad idea in intention, it just is worded so broadly that it can easily be applied to many things it wasn't intended. Lamar Smith says Wikipedia has nothing to fear from SOPA and it will not censor the internet, but he is wrong and he is not listening. In fact, I can prove it will even with his interpretation of it. Take IMSLP [], a library of musical scores that are in the public domain somewhere, but not necessarily everywhere. Some of these are still copyrighted in the US, some in Europe and Canada, some elsewhere, but all are in the public domain somewhere. This is a foreign site (with a US subsidiary for scores in the public domain in the US but not elsewhere due to differences in law) since it is based in Canada. It holds US copyrighted material that is legally public domain in Canada. By SOPA/PIPA, the US can delist IMSLP from DNS (and it is .org, so managed in the US), force no advertising from the US to go to it, and force Wikipedia (and Google and anyone else) to remove all references to it. While foreign DNS servers can add it back in on download, American DNS servers cannot because circumvention is illegal (though Americans can use a foreign DNS server, which is not illegal...).

      Is it censorship? Yes. Does it stop piracy? No.

    In fact, no part of SOPA/PIPA actually stops piracy, though the counterfeiting measures may hurt counterfeiters (to be honest, I just skimmed that section). US companies can hire foreign companies to do their advertising, and they won't have control over the sites the ads are placed on, so they have no way of shutting them down (ever heard of how spam emails work?). Pirates can still get DNS using foreign servers or just use IPs directly.

    Ergo, all parts of this can easily and legally be circumvented by pirates and we lose legal parts of the internet in the process.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 20, 2012 @06:03PM (#38768154)

    Trademarks are meant to protect the good name of a company - to stop consumers from buying a shoddy knock-off, and blaming the original company when it falls apart. If the consumers buying fake Prada handbags from China know that they're fake, is there really a problem?

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @06:50PM (#38768720)
    Before we had PCs and the Internet, most people never gave copyrights a moment's though, unless they were lawyers or were employed in an industry where copyrights matter. Back in those days, copyrights were a regulation on industry; people did not violate them because they did not have the industrial equipment needed to violate them.

    Things are different now. You do not need industrial equipment to copy things, everyone has all the equipment they need right in their own home. It is not that people have lost respect for copyrights, it is that people are now in a position where whether or not they respect copyrights matters -- and they never really cared about copyrights to begin with. There was never any reason to expect the majority of people to respect copyrights, and there is no way that copyrights could ever be enforced when the majority of people have the equipment needed to violate copyrights (there are far too many people for the justice system to actually determine if a particular violation of a copyright was fair use -- copyrights were designed to be handled by lawyers in courts).

    We live in a post-copyright age, there is no sense in denying that. I use the example of bottled water. Everyone can drink their tap water, yet bottled water companies manage to turn a profit without regulations that forbid the drinking of tap water. Computers are nearly as common as faucets at this point, and copying things with computers is as easy as drinking tap water.
  • I have to disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lewis Daggart ( 539805 ) <> on Friday January 20, 2012 @06:53PM (#38768758) Journal
    I really have to disagree. These laws were made with bad intentions. Hear me out for a moment.

    Murder is wrong. Murder is against the law. Murder still happens. Even assuming the intention was good in broad strokes, which I will dispute in a moment, the idea that we will continue piling laws up against murder until it goes away entirely is inherently abusive toward our liberties and impossible to actually enforce. Murder is illegal and penalized with incarceration or death depending on where you live. Nobody likes murder, but we arent clammoring to make it *more* illegal.

    Likewise, copyright infringement is already illegal under the relevent codes. Making it *more* illegal simply blurs public perception about what crime is being committed. If the law simply made it more illegal, it's already in the wrong, but it does worse than that.

    Imagine if, in order to stop murder, we created a law that said anyone who suspects someone of murdering their family member may hold them prisoner, possibly indefinately, with the burden of proof on the accused to show that he is not guilty. We would be legalizing vigilante enforcement at the hands of the most biased party, with the presumption of guilt until proven innocent.

    This is what SOPA does, and it is incidious. It is not establishing the rule of law. It is using the cloak of law to legitimize lawless percecution. And I don't think for one moment that it's accidental.
  • defeatist attitudes like yours

    the simple fact is that every single one of your rights and freedoms require maintenance, and are always under threat, and can always erode. forever

    freedom is not fought for once and then that's the end of the story. you must fight for it. forever. this is a basic truth of existence. is that depressing? well someday you will die too. that's depressing. so you stop trying to live your life, you believe in nothing but gloom and doom? no. likewise, just because the powers of plutocracy are always there trying to rob you of your freedoms you will just give up? then you aren't much of a believer in the value of your freedoms anyway. you give up to easily. you're not a coward, you're just weak

    so to counteract your defeatism i submit the the observation that the media dinosaurs sponsoring this bill are losing power and revenue flow and will fade over time. and in a generation, when everyone now who is 20 yo nurtured on an open internet is 50 yo and firmly entrenched in power, and every congresscritter firmly understands the value of a free and open internet, these kinds of attacks on the basic internet functioning by clueless old congresscritters simply won't happen anymore, and will be laughed out of the door

    i await the typical tired response to my comment that boils, yet again, to nothing but empty mindless pessimism. you are no aid to the fight for freedom if you give up easily and beleive your freedoms are doomed no matter what. show some backbone or fuck off, we have no time for you

  • by SecurityGuy ( 217807 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @08:34PM (#38770040)

    And more seriously, what people SHOULD be willing to do is come out publicly and say, "Yes, I voted against the Prevent Child Porn Act of 2012 because Senator So and So and Rep Wasserface pulled a sleazy move and tacked COMPLETELY UNRELATED legislation on to it. It's regrettable that So and So and Wasserface compromised a good bill like the PCP act by tacking trash onto it. I'll happily vote for a trash free bill."

  • by ifiwereasculptor ( 1870574 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @09:30PM (#38770696)

    I'd argue the amount of liberals and conservatives tends to always be about the same. The reference point moves, though. Let me try to come up with am example to illustrate what I mean.

    Gay rights: gay marriage is being discussed today. Liberals are for it, conservatives think they should just shut up and have their diabolic gay sex extramaritally. A few decades ago, sodomy laws banning gay sex were common. Liberals were for their abolition, conservatives thought they should shut up and stop wanting legalize perversions. Thomas Jefferson wrote a law in 1778 that demanded castration for homossexual men. Liberals were for it, conservatives wanted them to just shut up and let gays take the already existent penalty, death, like the girlish men they were.

    See? There was always pressure on both sides, but the reference point changed a lot. It's hard to find conservatives today that'd want gay men to be killed by the state. And that's what will happen to the internet, given time. If you doubt it, think about the Patriot Act. It would never fly in the 90s, even most conservatives of the time would find it baffling. I may be a bit too optimistic here, but I think there would be, at least, lots of marches and vocal oppositors. But once 9/11 happened and, in a nationwide panic, it became institutionalized, then the reference point moved. And now you don't see a lot of people trying to repeal it, because they're used to it. The frog has been slowly boiled.

    So, SOPA/PIPA. They will pass it, through either the exploitation of a scary event or sheer insistence, and then the debate will shift from "should we give those companies absolute, instantaneous power over the internet?" to "which companies should wield such absolute, instantaneous power over the internet?".

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Friday January 20, 2012 @10:01PM (#38770932) Journal

    If we're going to fix this problem, we need to stop acting like we're not at fault.

    We're not. And I'm sorry your secret out-of-court settlement with the RIAA requires you to say we are.

    This began no later than 1976, when Universal sued Sony to try to ban the VCR. They failed there, but they successfully destroyed home use of digital audio tape with the Audio Home Recording Act. They attempted to ban the MP3 player in 1998. And then there was the DMCA, also 1998. Were you violating copyright before 1976? Even Napster came after the DMCA. These laws were not reactions to mass copyright infringement; they could not be, because they _preceded_ such infringement. SOPA/PIPA are just the next salvo.

    From your website:

    We have to remind ourselves that copyright is a real valid agreement in society and that we have to either honor it, or decide to dismantle it.

    If copyright ever was an "agreement", it has been violated, over and over again, by the other side. Not just with the laws above, but by interminable copyright extension and the re-copyrighting of out-of-copyright works. In fact, however, it's not an agreement at all; it's just an exercise of power. There's no dishonor in violating it.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"