The Fate of SOPA and PIPA! Some say regulation of the Internet is dead, while others say, “Not So Fast!”

by Jeremy Griffith

The Federal Communications Commission and Members of Congress have been discussing Net Neutrality and SOPA and PIPA bills as a means of regulating the Internet for some time, with the aim of preventing online piracy. But there is massive opposition to the bills because of the potential for abuse by the Federal Government to block legal as well as illegal websites.

PIPA and SOPA failed because of this opposition, but that is no guarantee that the FCC couldn’t revisit it again as the Obama administration gears up for a second term.

So what is Net Neutrality?  Net Neutrality is defined as the principle that advocates government regulation of Internet Service Providers preventing ISPs from restricting consumers’ access to networks that participate in the Internet.

SOPA stands for the Bill Stop Online Piracy Act; and PIPA the companion bill in the Senate is the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, which were both products of the OPEN Act which aimed at preventing trade good violations and the sale of counterfeit goods.

That all sounds well and good, but the bills in Congress and rules from the FCC seem intent on putting on regulations on Internet Service Providers and not relaxing any restrictions. So why is this important? It’s because if the SOPA and PIPA rules had passed, then the Federal Government would have the obligation and right to block websites deemed to be guilty of online piracy.

Mark Lemley is a professor at Stanford Law School, director of the Stanford Program in Law, Science, and Technology, and a partner at the Durie Tangri law firm. He spoke to Marketplace Tech in January to voice his concerns.

” You ought to be worried,” Lemley said, “because your website or site that you visit might suddenly disappear.”

While many businesses were originally for net neutrality, after seeing the wording of the law, they withdrew their support. Big gaming names EA, Sony and Nintendo for example originally supported the bills, but withdrew their support a short time later. Admittedly, that may have been because of a threat from the online hacking group Anonymous according to MCVUK.com.

Bloggers like the Gateway Pundit’s Andrea Ryan and ConservativeDailyNews.com publisher Rich Mitchell oppose net neutrality, PIPA/SOPA because of what it would potentially do to shut down the profitability and access of the Internet, curtailing its success and limiting choices when it comes to information and the freedom of speech.

Ryan writes in her blog, ” If these bills pass through Congress, you can say goodbye to the Internet as we know it…and another piece of our liberty.”

 ” If these bills pass through Congress, you can say goodbye to the Internet as we know it…and another piece of our liberty.” Andrea Ryan, for the Gateway Pundit

Rich Mitchell, ConservativeDailyNews.com

Mitchell writes, ” While there is no doubt that intellectual property should be protected, SOPA/PIPA is, as written, dangerous because of what they could do. It allows copyright holders to pursue websites that only link to pirated material. That is an idea that might be used by giant media companies to eliminate competition.”

” While there is no doubt that intellectual property should be protected, SOPA/PIPA is, as written, dangerous because of what they could do. It allows copyright holders to pursue websites that only link to pirated material. That is an idea that might be used by giant media companies to eliminate competition.” Rich Mitchel, Publisher of Conservative Daily News.com

Attorny James Skyles of AskACyberLawer.com said that while some revisitation of the law or regulations are likely, the Bills themselves and the unpopular aspects of them were successfully blogged, never to return.

Attorney James Skyles of askacyberlawyer.com

“They will likely revisit some sort of internet regulation, but PIPA and SOPA are both dead,” said Skyles.  “Both political parties placed opposition to PIPA and SOPA on their party platforms.  It isn’t worth spending political capital on something very unpopular in the public.”

“They will likely revisit some sort of internet regulation, but PIPA and SOPA are both dead. Both political parties placed opposition to PIPA and SOPA on their party platforms.  It isn’t worth spending political capital on something very unpopular in the public.” James Skyles, askacyberlawer.com

While that is good news for Internet entrepreneurs and bloggers, there is no guarantee that the FCC won’t changed their mind and vote for more restrictions or that congress won’t revisit the issue itself in the new administration. It is too early to tell.

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