Nearly a year after a wave of online protests killed two anti-piracy bills, lawmakers are skittish about moving forward with legislation aimed at cracking down on websites that illegally distribute copies of movies and music.
The House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA) grabbed national attention when Wikipedia, Reddit and scores of other websites went dark on Jan. 18 to protest the bills. The public outcry over the bills led lawmakers to pull their support, and spurred others who were previously quiet on the anti-piracy measures to speak out in opposition.The fracas over SOPA and PIPA a year ago is still fresh on the minds of lawmakers, making it doubtful that similar legislation will surface in the opening months of the 113th Congress.
“I think people are shell-shocked from that,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who was a vocal opponent of SOPA.
Probably true. The thing is this, though: Based on its past policies in this area, SOPA is something the Administration wants. And when this Administration wants something and can’t get it from Congress, it usually just takes it anyway.
So based on its past approach, don’t be surprised if the White House decides to avoid incurring any more political difficulties in getting SOPA, with or (more likely) without a catchy name. You got a problem with that?
UPDATE: Others agree.