A number of United States lawmakers have dropped their support for the anti-piracy legislation as Wikipedia, Google Inc., and other tech companies protested the measures.
Wikipedia, the world’s sixth most-visited website, has blacked out its English website in protest to the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), which is currently passing through the Senate, and the Stop Online Piracy Act, which is getting passed through the House of Representatives.
The protest gained momentum when Florida Senator Marco Rubio, co-sponsor of PIPA, withdrew his support for the bill. Rubio, a Republican, is seen as a possible bet for the vice presidential race this year.
“Earlier this year, this bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and without controversy,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “Since then, we’ve heard legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government’s power to impact the Internet. Congress should listen and avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences.”
Other senators that withdrew their support are Orrin Hatch, Toy Blunt, John Boozman and Charles Grassley. Representatives who pulled out their support are Rep. Terry Lee, Rep. Ben Quayle and Rep. Rick Larsen.
Currently, it appears that online protests were successful. The website blackouts and viral videos have made SOPA wildly unpopular within just a few number of weeks. We’ll just have to wait and see the outcome of this big fight.