What next for SOPA & PIPA?

Posted on January 25, 2012


Last week was largely dominated by the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills in the US. Both are controversial legislations, so there was much protestation taking place online.

Google blacked out its logo for example, whilst many heavily used sites, most notably Wikipedia, decided to “blackout” – go offline completely.

The protests by these sites may have gained many of the column inches, but there were a significant number of others taking part. Indeed, their participation was encouraged, with Google slowing its web crawlers, in order that SEO would not be damaged.

There was also a great deal of coverage on social networks and altogether, the action was probably more responsible for the bills eventually being postponed than their authors would care to admit. There is no denying that it was responsible for a number of politicians pulling their support.

As happens in the UK, if a bill is pulled at such an early stage, it is very hard to resuscitate it. However, with online theft being so prevalent, the bones of them are sure to be reincarnated.

Most importantly, their form is likely to be made a good deal easier to read; one of the issues that both SOPA and PIPA had was that they were tied up in legalese. Other effective changes are not so clear though.

Furthermore, as the controversial take down of Megaupload shows, many robust powers are already in place for suspected piracy to be tackled; no matter the location or distance from the US of the accused, so the value and role of both bills will still be questioned.

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