OPEN Replaces SOPA and PIPA
The Protect IP Act (PIPA) was introduced to the U.S Senate on May 12, 2011. If PIPA passed, it would give the government and corporation’s permission to seek legal action with any website that they see infringing on copyrighted material. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) on the other hand, was introduced to the House of Representatives on October 26, 2011. The bill, if passed, would work in conjunction with PIPA.
“It’s understandable that people don’t want their hard work to be taken for free. But I feel like the government would be taking away our freedom to create. We wouldn’t be able to grow as a nation,” says freshman Passionate Amukamara.
Word of the two acts spread like wildfire, and protests soon started to arise from the people. Several online petitions were started, and according to The Los Angeles Times, Google confirmed that 4.5 million people signed their petition to protest SOPA and PIPA. A combined 103,785 signed a petition to stop the bill according to the White House.
In addition to the numerous petitions, 7,000 websites joined together to fight for their internet freedom, creating the largest online protest in history.
On January 18, 2012, a blackout spread across the web. Sites like Wikipedia blocked its site content for 24 hours in order to protest the two bills. The site was viewed over 162 million times within the 24 hours, with almost eight million people following instructions to contact their politicians.
It was noted that senators Marco Rubio, Roy Blunt, James Inhofe, John Boozman, Orrin Hatch, Pennsylvania Congressman Tim Holden, and House Representative Ben Quayle has withdrawn their support from the bills because of the commotion and internet black out.
"I will not only vote against moving the bill forward next week but also remove my co-sponsorship of the bill," says Senator Orrin Hatch, a long supporter of protecting Hollywood copyright, via Twitter.
Two days after the black out, Senate majority leader Harry Reid postponed the ballot on PIPA. Similarly, Lamar Smith, Republican chairman of the House announced that his panel would also delay action on SOPA.
The new, alternative bill, OPEN was introduced to teh U.S. House of Representatives by a California republican representative Darrell Issa late January 18.
The act would allow copyright holders to file complaints about suspicions of copyright infringement at foreign websites. The U.S International Trade Commission would investigate the complaints and decide whether cut off of funding will be initiated.
"OPEN is a targeted, effective solution to the problem of foreign, rogue websites stealing from American artists and innovators," says Issa.
Issa hopes that with OPEN, it will be a smarter way to protect taxpayer’s rights while still protecting the internet.
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