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Wednesday Internet Blackout And PIPA and SOPA Bills

PIPA and SOPA Co-Sponsors Abandon Bills

Toronto News, January 20, 2012

The widespread Internet blackout Wednesday, in which sites such as Wikipedia and Reddit went dark to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), seems to have influenced members of the U.S. Congress.

PIPA co-sponsor Florida Sen. Marco Rubio pulled his name from the bill Wednesday, and SOPA co-sponsor Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle pulled his name Tuesday.

Rubio communicated his withdrawal via a Facebook post, titled “A Better Way to Fight the Online Theft of American Ideas and Jobs,” in which he argues Congress should avoid rushing to pass the bill that could have unintended consequences.

“As a senator from Florida, a state with a large presence of artists, creators and businesses connected to the creation of intellectual property, I have a strong interest in stopping online piracy that costs Florida jobs.

“However, we must do this while simultaneously promoting an open, dynamic Internet environment that is ripe for innovation and promotes new technologies.”

The Florida Senator encouraged his co-sponsor Nevada Sen. Harry Reid to follow his lead and abandon the bill in order to “take more time to address the concerns raised by all sides, and come up with new legislation that addresses Internet piracy while protecting free and open access to the Internet.”

SEE ALSO: Why SOPA Is Dangerous
Following the PIPA co-sponsor’s withdrawal, Texas Sen. John Cornyn followed suit, posting a statement of abandonment on Facebook Wednesday morning. Similarly, a spokesperson for Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry said the Congressman is unable to support SOPA as it’s written and plans to withdraw his support as well, the Omaha World-Herald reports.

Update 2:45 p.m.: Lead SOPA sponsor, Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, said Wednesday that he was not discouraged by the criticisms SOPA has received and that he continues to stand behind the bill, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Update 3:25 p.m.: Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a PIPA co-sponsor, and Arkansas Sen. John Boozman withdrew their support for the bill.

Update 4:05 p.m.: Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch announced he would no longer co-sponsor the bill on Twitter.

Do you think the widespread website blackouts, such as Wikipedia’s, are to credit for the bills’ supporter drain?