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Rights of Passage

Dropping Like Flies: List of Defecting PIPA/SOPA Supporters (and Co-Sponsors) Grows

The internet protest is over, and you can finally use Wikipedia without having to look at a gross, spooky cached page. (You knew you could do that, right? Oh, well, doesn’t matter now.) But what was the real impact of the swath of blackouts on the web? Was is much ado about nothing? And what could have been the most significant reaction to this widespread outcry? In fact, something pretty important happened: the people responsible for actually voting on the bill and turning it into the law of the land have decided not to support it. Even lawmakers who co-sponsored the bill have taken their names off and withdrawn their support. That’s wonderful! And it was also nice of them that they were so honest about apparently not reading the bill they’d initially supported in the first place. Transparency!

What’s both good and infuriating about this bill is that you can hardly say it’s a partisan issue: there are good guys and bad guys on both sides of the aisle. For the sake of reporting, we will be showing you the party affiliations of the 16 (as of this writing) U.S. Senators who have backed away from their version of the bill, PIPA (the Protect IP Act). Marco Rubio (R-FL) was the most visible defector yesterday, and Ars Technica has compiled a list of lawmakers who have followed suit:

Roy Blunt (R-MO) *
John Boozman (R-AR) *
Scott Brown (R-MA)
Ben Cardin (D-MD) *
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT) *
James Inhofe (R-OK)
Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Marco Rubio (R-FL) *
Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
David Vitter (R-LA)*
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Mike Johanns (R-NE)
Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)*

Open Congress has an even more comprehensive list of the Senators who are either supporting the bill, leaning towards supporting it, on the fence, leaning towards not supporting it, or not supporting it at all (with several links to statements by the Senators that have been made public). What has been made clear is that at least some of the people have been listening to what their constituents have to say — and probably want them to remain constituents instead of just neighbors come Election Day.

The Senate is set to vote on PIPA next Tuesday, January 24. Right now, the House bill (SOPA) has been shelved, but will come back to haunt us in February.

Also, I’ve been inaccurate concerning President Obama‘s stance — while the Administration does not support the bill in its current form, he has not promised a veto. Apologies for the error, because that’s kind of a big one. (Though you can read yesterday’s SOPA/PIPA post to see why I still think we’ll be spared this horrid bill.)

(Ars Technica, Open Congress via Gizmodo)

Previously in SOPA/PIPA

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  • Heidi Mason

    Yay, nice to know my senator (Hatch) has backed out of it, when he sent me a letter in the past saying he would do everything to push it through. Seems as though he listened yesterday!

  • Nikki Lincoln

    It’s very interesting to see that both CA senators support the bill since so many web companies are based there. 

  • Anonymous

    Anyone here on Mary Sure posting about SOPA/PIPA has, I hope, seen this:

    It’s important to understand how much of the D’s campaign funding comes from the groups of media folks supporting (and probably the ones who largely wrote) these bills.  That’s why so many of the defectors are R’s, and why so many of the co-sponsors and supporters are D’s.  There have already been folks in media and entertainment throwing hissy fits over the little that Obama has said against SOPA/PIPA in their current forms, and have pulled funding and refused participation in future fund raising events,  Really, I think it’s either ignorant or disingenuous to be so positive about Obama’s stance or how unlikely this is to pass.  It’s likely, quite likely.  They just need to attach it as a rider to a bill that *must* pass.  And there is NO ONE in a position of power in the federal government who would mind the loss of the internet, as it’s been so helpful a resource and gathering tool for the people re: actions against and in protest of governments, both here and abroad. 

    Considering all the internet has done to help the people organize against the corruption in some governments, and against the dictatorships of others, it’s no surprise to me that this is happening now.  Those with the money and the power are finally properly scared of what a free internet can do for working class peoples.  The way SOPA/PIPA are written, and the devastating effect they would have on the internet isn’t because of sloppy writing and ignorance, it’s a feature, not a bug.

  • Alias

    I don’t think so. His actions are entirely tactical – he’s trying to get out before the shit hits the fan. If it weren’t the internet blackout, he would’ve voted the bill through anyway.

    I recommend that, come around election time, you vote him out of office (otherwise we’ll see a repeat of his actions at a later date).

  • Nikki Lincoln

    Scary… can we just ask CERN to make us something like the internet but better and government proof?

  • Heidi Mason

    Alas, you’re probably right.

  • Alias

    All of Hollywood is there as well as well as a few other media companies. Sure, there are a lot of web companies, but you also have the more vocal groups (MPAA/RIAA) ruining things for everyone else just because it doesn’t fit their business model.

  • Anonymous

    Our Representative (R) from a tiny, rural podunk area of the country (which I adore) came out yesterday and said he couldn’t support SOPA and PIPA because he didn’t understand them, and also many constituents emailed and called him to voice their concerns about the bills.  I may not agree with the man much of the time, but good on him for being honest!  He is an older gentleman and has admitted that the Internet and its legislation is not in his skill set.  If Representatives and Senators read HALF of what crosses their desks, and made the effort to understand it all, we would be in much better shape, methinks.

  • Life Lessons

    Hands off my Internet. I’m glad to see the public outcry and Congress reacting.

  • Jacob Kling

    Hey!  It’s my internet too!  I agree with ya, though.  Government, DON’T F*CKING TOUCH IT!!!

  • Anonymous

    Not so fast on the D vs R business.

    1.Republicans have *hardly* shown themselves to be friends of ‘working class people’.

    2. The last major copyright act was embraced and enthusiastically passed by Republicans.

    3. The last copyright extension was NAMED for a Republican.

    4. Ronald Reagan– their patron saint– was from Hollywood and earned his living from copyright residuals.

    5. Hollywood is a dead serious big-money business– just like a bank. Look for the same sort of congressional support you saw during the Bush TARP debate– the *last* big-money free-for-all that everyone hated and signed petitions opposing.