Two announcements today give hope that the vile SOPA/Protect IP Acts can be deleted. First, SOPA author Lamar Smith has backed down from some of the worst provisions:
Rep. Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), one of the biggest backers of the Stop Online Piracy Act, today said he plans to remove the Domain Name System requirements from the Stop Online Piracy Act.
“After consultation with industry groups across the country,” Smith said in a statement released by his office, “I feel we should remove DNS-blocking from the Stop Online Piracy Act so that the [U.S. House Judiciary] Committee can further examine the issues surrounding this provision.
Patrick Leahy has said he plans to strip those provisions from PIP. I’d like to think the backlash is responsible for this. But the backlash is not going to change Congress’ cringing servility to the entertainment industry or counter the ridiculous lies spewed by their representatives. I suspect the SOPA supporters hope to pass a lesser version, then slip through changes when no one is looking.
The other good news it that the Obama Administration has also come out against SOPA. However, I suspect their opposition will vanish once the DNS provisions are removed. Either that, or they’ll issue a signing statement saying they won’t enforce any controversial provisions.
(The Administration seems to be realizing how much their pissing all over civil liberties for three years has riled some people. They have also said that the Constitution protects cell phone recordings from being seized. That is, their two most significant steps on civil liberties have waited until … an election year.)
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. SOPA may be dying, but it’s not dead. And even it were, it would not be dead forever. The entertainment industry will regroup, spend more money and come back again to make the internet their slave. Plans for internet blackouts and protests should proceed. They need to know that they’re being watched.