This week, controversial legislation that could result in government censorship of the internet and stifle innovation came under fire. Supporters of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA), which claim to crack down on online piracy overseas, started peeling off the bills.
A day before any popular websites launched protests on Wednesday, Heritage Action released its key vote against SOPA and PIPA. It was picked up around the country, and thanks to dedicated conservatives taking action, made a big difference in Congress:
National Journal: Well this could put Republicans in a bind. Earlier today, I reported the Chamber is key voting the Senate Protect IP bill, urging a yes vote. Heritage Action for America today announced that it also plans to score the bill and is calling for a no vote.
DailyCaller: Heritage Action, the lobbying arm of conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, announced Tuesday that it will hold votes in favor of SOPA and PIPA against lawmakers. "Heritage Action opposes SOPA and PIPA and if they come to a vote will include them as a key vote on our scorecard," said the influential conservative group.
LATimes/Opinion: Heritage Action's move is significant because conservative groups have traditionally been strong supporters of copyright and trademark protection....The emerging opposition from mainstream conservatives like Heritage Action complements the resistance that civil liberties groups, left-of-center activists, tech industry hotbeds on both coasts and venture capitalists have been putting up since the measures were introduced.
Politico: The conservative Heritage Action sent out a "key vote" alert Tuesday, urging lawmakers to vote against the two versions of the bill.
Associated Press: Disparate political groups such as the liberal Democracy for America and the conservative Heritage Action have also voiced concerns about censorship. (picked up locally in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan and Missouri)
Wall Street Journal: ...and the Heritage Foundation on the right. MoveOn blacked out its website in protest Wednesday, and the Heritage Foundation's grass-roots arm said it would include any votes on the legislation as "key" votes in compiling its legislative scorecard, which it uses to rate conservative lawmakers.
But as with most things in Washington, bad ideas never die! According to National Journal, Senate negotiations are ongoing:
[Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick] Leahy [D-VT], Protect IP's author, is working with Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., a senior Judiciary Committee member, to try to find what a GOP aide called "common ground" that addresses concerns. Possible changes could include removing provisions that would require service providers to block U.S. access to infringing foreign websites and search engines to block search results for infringing sites. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is unlikely to pull the bill ahead of the Tuesday vote.
With your help, Heritage Action will see this fight on SOPA and PIPA through to the end. Conservatives cannot allow the government to gain another regulatory foothold, especially on the internet!
UPDATE [10:00 AM EST]: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced he would attempt to postpone a scheduled vote on PIPA when the Senate returns on Tuesday. However, the vote may move forward as planned, allowing Senators to go on record opposing PIPA.
UPDATE [10:20 AM EST]: Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) announced that he will also postpone consideration of SOPA in the House of Representatives.
Key Vote Alert: "NO" on SOPA and PIPA
SOPA: Another Government Power Grab
Free Speech: An Unintended Victim of Protect IP and SOPA?
Online Piracy and SOPA: Beware of Unintended Consequences
Online Piracy (SOPA) and Internet Security (PIPA) Bills in Congress
POLITICO: What is SOPA?