The growing anti-SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) support that has swept through the gaming and Internet community found a very big ally today. With websites like Reddit and Wikipedia and gaming organizations like Major League Gaming prepared for a blackout on January 18th – the same day that the House Judiciary Committee hearing on HR 3261was scheduled in Washington, DC – President Barack Obama has stepped in and said he would not support the bill.
SOPA has been delayed, for now. The House has agreed to revisit the issue next month, but they now know the White House will veto any bill that’s not more narrowly focused.
Much to the chagrin of Hollywood, the Entertainment Software Association (which has been a backer of the bill from early on), and Internet domain company GoDaddy.com (which lost many accounts as a result of its support for the bill); SOPA has been shelved. The Motion Picture Association of America, one of the bill’s largest sponsors, is expected to regroup.
The White House released an official statement regarding the controversial matter, that reads in part:
“Any provision covering Internet intermediaries such as online advertising networks, payment processors, or search engines must be transparent and designed to prevent overly broad private rights of action that could encourage unjustified litigation that could discourage startup businesses and innovative firms from growing,” said The White House. “We expect and encourage all private parties, including both content creators and Internet platform providers working together, to adopt voluntary measures and best practices to reduce online piracy.”
SOPA is severely wounded, but far from dead.
Just like piracy itself, this debate isn’t over. Expect more bills to move forward, although the wording in future legislation is expected to be more narrowly focused in an attempt to appease the current administration. But given the current economic climate and the upcoming Presidential election, there could be a different administration entering The White House soon, changing the landscape for these types of bills.
Bottom line is, to protect these here internets we need to make sure we all VOTE! You already know what types of folks (Republicans) will be goin’ hard to make sure that some form of this bill passes and further restricts the free information sharing that we all use and depend on every single day.
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