Hundreds of millions of Internet users, most of whom may have been unaware of the bills until Wednesday, are likely to have noticed the protests.
[Note: This article was originally posted on January 19th, 2012. The IFNM website was attacked by hackers and many articles are now gone from the archives. As a public service, IFNM is now reposting said articles.]
Congressional support for controversial online piracy legislation eroded dramatically on Wednesday in the face of an unprecedented online protest supported by tech titans such as Google, Wikipedia and Facebook.
Several key senators withdrew their support from the Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA), including Tea Party favorite Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), an elected member of his party’s leadership.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who leads the Senate GOP’s campaign team, said the legislation should be put on hold, while Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a sponsor and the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, retreated from the bill. Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) also withdrew his sponsorship.
Thousands of websites went dark on Wednesday to protest the two Internet piracy bills, the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s PIPA. At least two California Democrats, Reps. Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren, joined the protests by blacking out their websites.