SOPA shelved, fight must turn to PIPA; Wikipedia will join blackout

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Word of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)'s demise are flying across the web. But the fight isn't over, for two reasons:

  • SOPA has been shelved, not eliminated.
  • The fight is now on against PROTECT IP (PIPA), which will return along with the Senate on January 24.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced today that he will stop action on SOPA, which effectively kills it--for now. This is presumably thanks to the combination of significant online objection along with the White House's petition response over the weekend that it would not support SOPA if it passed.

At the same time, plans continue for SOPA-protesting website blackouts on Wednesday, January 18. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and that site's community announced they will in fact be joining in. Regarding the timing, Wales tweeted:

We have no indication that SOPA is fully off the table. PIPA is still alive and kicking. We need to send Washington a BIG message.

PIPA, originally known as PROTECT IP, is extremely similar. In fact, it includes the same DNS blocking and censoring system that the SOPA did before those parts were amended. It's due for a vote, likely following 30 hours of cloture that Senator Ron Wyden and others have promised to filibuster through on January 23-24. It would need only 19 more Senators to override that filibuster on top of its existing 41 co-sponsors. Its content includes that:

  • Infringement occurs if "facts or circumstances suggest [the site] is used, primarily as a means for engaging in, enabling, or facilitating the activities described".
  • Domain name servers would be required to prevent a domain name the court found as infringing from resolving to its IP address.
  • Search engines would have to remove access and results that linked to the site.

In short, PIPA is the threat now.

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Ruth Suehle is the community leadership manager for Red Hat's Open Source and Standards team. She's co-author of Raspberry Pi Hacks (O'Reilly, December 2013) and a senior editor at GeekMom, a site for those who find their joy in both geekery and parenting.

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