Cracks are already beginning to show in the coalition of internet companies protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act – but plans are forging ahead in the White House to have the controversial bill shelved.
As we discussed last week, internet organisations are planning a 24 hour blackout to protest an act that will allow copyright holders to take action against any websites they feel like. But with the first scheduled blackout taking place on Wednesday January 18, Twitter have already decided they’re not prepared to inconvenience their users.
Wikipedia, however, has no such qualms. The site’s founder Jimmy Wales has explained that Wikipedia will join Reddit and Boing Boing in tomorrow’s blackout:
“Proponents of Sopa have characterised the opposition as being people who want to enable piracy or defend piracy.
“But that’s not really the point. The point is the bill is so over broad and so badly written that it’s going to impact all kinds of things that, you know, don’t have anything to do with stopping piracy.”
Jimmy Wales – Founder of Wikipedia
However, the blackout may not need to take place after all, if a very powerful critic of SOPA has his way:
“This is not just a matter for legislation. We expect and encourage all private parties, including both content creators and Internet platform providers working together, to adopt voluntary measures and best practices to reduce online piracy.”
A statement from Barack Obama‘s staff has suggested that SOPA will be vetoed, due to the fact that it will disrupt the underlying architecture of the internet, and generally just upset people all over the world.
And a Californian member of the US congress has publicly stated that there won’t be a vote on whether or not SOPA becomes law, because many members of the American government oppose the legislation and find it unworkable.
Unfortunately though, this might not spell the end of sweeping powers for copyright holders. The PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) is already beginning to upset people in the same way as its predecessor, with claims surfacing that the bill is an overly simple solution to a complex problem, which will impinge on the civil liberties of internet users.
So it looks like this one could run and run. And run some more.