In what's likely to be news of the day for many Americans and indeed, foreigners, are reports that PIPA, the Protect IP Act, has seen a rapid turnaround in backing within the senate, so far seeing 18 senators, seven of whom were former co-sponsors of the Act, turn to oppose it and, amongst the remaining 11 to change their stance, were the two remaining democrats still in support of the Act, leaving the pushing through of PIPA now an all-republican effort.
For a little background, here on HEXUS we have been following primarily news of SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, as it was a Bill built upon the ideas of PIPA, which had already found itself to the senate for voting. PIPA had the potential to be slightly less potent as it involved court intervention and wouldn't likely threaten sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, however for all other intensive purposes, was much the sister bill of SOPA.
The sudden change in the tides came immediately following yesterday's internet blackout, which saw over 7,000 sites turn off their lights to raise awareness of the Acts and their potentially damaging effects, along with other sites that did not black-out, such as Google, leaving a message stating their opposition to the Acts. Google also took the opportunity to host an e-petition in opposition, which had accumulated 4.5 million e-signatures by the end of the blackouts, sending a strong message to the senators.
Though still lingering, SOPA had recently been placed on the shelf for a serious rethink, allowing the focus to turn towards PIPA; support is now waning and we hear that currently, PIPA has 32 supporters, 23 opposing, with a further 13 or so leaning towards opposition, whilst 15 refuse to declare their stance on the bill, preventing either side from reaching a majority.
For those interested in following the sway of votes, you can head on over to opencongress.org for the latest whip count.
For now, at least, it looks as though both SOPA and PIPA have been stopped dead in their tracks, though there's still an element of uncertainty, so stay tuned.