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Supporters of SOPA, PIPA stick to their guns

Jaikumar Vijayan | Jan. 19, 2012
Beleaguered supporters of two online antipiracy bills today downplayed widespread protests against the legislation and insisted the opposition is misguided and misinformed.

"It's time for the stunts to end and those who claim to care about rogue website theft to back up their rhetoric and work with us on meaningful solutions," Lamy said in an emailed statement.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) one of the sponsors of PIPA, said the continuing criticism of the bills despite the amendments was troubling.

"Much of what has been claimed about the Senate's Protect IP Act is flatly wrong and seems intended more to stoke fear and concern than to shed light or foster workable solutions," Leahy said in a statement.

"The PROTECT IP Act will not affect Wikipedia, will not affect Reddit, and will not affect any website that has any legitimate use," Leahy said. The bill is targeted only at foreign websites that have no real purpose other than infringement, theft and fraud, he said.

Senate supporters of PIPA insist that sites such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and Google , which have often been held up as examples of sites that could be affected by the bills, do not meet the bill's definition of a non-domestic domain. They insist that fears about PIPA's enabling content owners to take down entire Web domains are flat-out wrong.

It's too soon to say how today's protest will affect the hundreds of other organizations that have expressed their support for the legislation. For the moment at least, the bills' major sponsors have shown little indication that they will drop the legislation in the face of protests.

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) lead sponsor of SOPA in the House, earlier this week said that a hearing will be held in February to mark up the bill and send it to the full House for further action.

Meanwhile, several lawmakers who previously expressed support for the bills have backed away from them. Since the protests began, five lawmakers have come out against the bills and have indicated they will not vote for the legislation without amendments.



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