A little while back I wrote a post about the Stop Online Piracy Act and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act.
Well, I’m happy to say that what looked like the inevitable censorship of the Internet, potentially harming the future of journalism as we know it, has hit a setback.
On Friday SOPA’s author, Texas Congressman Lamar Smith, began to backpedal on some of the bill’s scarier language. As of now, the bill is being reevaluated and the idea of DNS blocking is under consideration.
The news is a bit of a surprise to be quite honest. I’m a cynic I’m about many things, but I try to retain some sort of childish optimism and naivety in regards to certain situations – but SOPA was certainly not one of those things.
There was no real way I could imagine the government backtracking on the incredibly harsh and foolish language initially spelt out in the bill.
Glad to see I’ve been proved wrong. Time will tell how the bill inevitable is drawn and how the government decides to dictate how we as journalists use the Internet as our platform and playground to create and distribute content for our audiences, but for now, the outlook isn’t as grim.
Removing the DNS blocking language in the bill is an extremely good start and a sign that the bill’s original intent, to stop foreign and mass piracy of copyrighted content, is still the focus, albeit in a more limited and not so widely drawn out way.
For a time it had seemed as if the people in charge, who clearly had little understanding of the ramifications of SOPAs original language, finally began to listen to the voices of reason and experience that came from places such as Google, AOL and Twitter.
This Wednesday sites like Wikipedia, Reddit and Failblog are planning a black out, to raise awareness about the legislation on the back of last week’s small victory.
And of course there are still some that support the original drafting. Ahem.
So Obama has thrown in his lot withSilicon Valley paymasters who threaten allsoftware creators with piracy, plain thievery. –
— Rupert Murdoch(@rupertmurdoch) January 14, 2012
So for now the US government has stopped trying to rewrite and rebuild the Internet for copyrights sake, but the bill still remains, and the threat of legislators abusing widely drawn language will always be there.