The Congressman responsible for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) announced today that he is withdrawing the bill from being considered in the Senate.
SOPA was initially aimed at preventing the theft of intellectual property and copyright infringement, but opponents to the bill suggested that it would do much more, like censor sites such as Twitter, Google, YouTube, and Tumblr.
Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, who introduced the bill, said today:
“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy.
It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.”
In addition to SOPA’s withdrawal, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has also made the decision to postpone the January 24 vote on the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), which was proposed as a means to stop overseas websites from pirating copyrighted content.
The news comes after a scheduled Internet blackout, where thousands of sites, including Wikipedia and Google (FreesWorld also participated) went dark in protest of the bill on Wednesday. Ten million people also signed a petition in opposition of the proposals.
The protest caused many of the bills original backers in the Senate to drop their support.
More backlash happened yesterday after the United States Department of Justice closed file sharing site MegaUpload and indicted many employees of the company (which has rapper and producer Swizz Beatz listed as a CEO) for â€œconspiracy to commit racketeering and criminal copyright infringement.â€
In retaliation for the move, a hacking group that calls itself Anonymous, proceeded to attack and take down the websites for the US Department of Justice, FBI, Universal Music Group, Recording Industry Association of America, and Motion Picture Association of America.