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Key senators predict imminent return for SOPA, PIPA

Sen. Reid wants resolution in the coming weeks, Sen. Leahy by the end of the year

The controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate counterpart the Protect IP Act (PIPA) have been postponed indefinitely, but political figures backing the legislation insist that revised versions will emerge in the near future.

PIPA was originally scheduled to pass before the Senate tomorrow, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nevada) delayed the vote following widespread protests, crumbling political support, and public dissent from major websites like Google and Wikipedia.

However, Reid later issued a statement in which he claimed there was "no reason" why the perceived issues with the bill could not be resolved, suggesting that a new bill could be drafted in "the coming weeks."

"We live in a country where people rightfully expect to be fairly compensated for a day's work, whether that person is a miner in the high desert of Nevada, an independent band in New York City, or a union worker on the back lots of a California movie studio," the statement read.

"I encourage [Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy] to continue engaging with all stakeholders to forge a balance between protecting Americans' intellectual property, and maintaining openness and innovation on the internet."

In a statement on his official website, Senator Patrick Leahy warned of the dangers of indecision when it comes to PIPA, claiming that, "more time will pass with jobs lost and economies hurt by foreign criminals who are stealing American intellectual property, and selling it back to American consumers."

Leahy, who co-authored the legislation, is pushing for work on the PIPA to continue unabated, so that a new bill might cross the President's desk "this year."

"I understand and respect Majority Leader Reid's decision to seek consent to vitiate closure on the motion to proceed to [PIPA]," he added. "But the day will come when the Senators who forced this move will look back and realise they made a knee-jerk reaction to a monumental problem."

Representative Lamar Smith (San Antonio) delayed SOPA in response to Reid's postponement of PIPA. Smith was the principal author of SOPA, but, in a telephone interview with Reuters, he stressed the need for, "wider agreement on a solution."

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) also reversed its stance on SOPA, despite its early support for the bill. A report on Kotaku claimed that the body had invested as much as $190,000 lobbying for PIPA and SOPA last year, while Joystiq compiled a list of ESA members that indicated the majority being in favour of SOPA.

"Although the need to address this pervasive threat to our industry's creative investment remains, concerns have been expressed about unintended consequences stemming from the current legislative proposals," a statement released by the ESA read.

"Accordingly, we call upon Congress, the Obama Administration, and stakeholders to refocus their energies on producing a solution that effectively balances both creative and technology interests."

The League For Gamers, a non-profit entity started by Red5 CEO Mark Kern to oppose potentially damaging legislation like SOPA and PIPA, issued a statement that "applauded" the ESA's new stance. However, it also lamented that the reversal had arrived only after the bills were postponed by Congress.

"The fact that the ESA was a huge financial backer of this legislation, means the LFG must remain an ever vigilant proponent for gamers and like-minded developers against future misguided legislation."

"SOPA and PIPA will surely resurface under new names, with perhaps different wording, but with every bit as destructive force as the original versions. We will be there. We will never forget. We will always be watching."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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