As Sites “Go Dark,” SOPA and PIPA Go Down—for Now

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January 18, 2012; Source: The New York Times | While digital protests against the bills were still taking place, The New York Times wrote without reservation about the limited potential for passing the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its twin, the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). “No one expects it to get 60 votes,” one article on SOPA claimed. On Capitol Hill, Republican congressmen—including the original co-sponsors of SOPA and PIPA—distanced themselves from the embattled legislation. But has the New York Times played its hand too soon?

ProPublica’s numbers reveal that there are 76 supporters of the bills in the House and Senate and only 31 dedicated opponents. Dominant media forces like Comcast, Viacom, NBC Universal, and other industry groups have joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in supporting SOPA. With their legislative allies and deep pockets, not-as-new media hasn’t been dealt a blow by these protests. Rather, the fight will continue, and if the Electronic Frontier Foundation is correct, “we can expect SOPA proponents in the House to try to revive the legislation.” Meanwhile, the Senate is set to consider PIPA next week.

Opponents of the bills have vowed vigilance. The Web-based protest group Anonymous issued a press release calling for street-level action, stating, “IF YOUR GOVERNMENT SHUTS DOWN THE INTERNET … SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT!” Reddit General Manager Erik Martin vowed that the social news site company would square off for a “very long fight,” and though he was encouraged by the day’s developments, he assured supporters that “we’re not letting our guard down.”—James David Morgan