The internet bete noire known as SOPA (that’s the Stop Online Piracy Act) may not make it beyond the US Congress after all, following a strong statement against the legislation from the White House. Darrell Issa, a republican congressman also opposed to SOPA, has stated that he has been told by House majority leader Eric Cantor that without concensus on the bill there would be no vote.
“Much more education for members of Congress about the workings of the internet is essential if anti-piracy legislation is to be workable and achieve broad appeal,” Issa said.
In a statement made over the weekend, the Obama White House outlined its broad opposition to both piracy and poorly-written legislation: “While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet”.
Several sites, including Reddit, Wikipedia and Red 5 Studios beta still intend to voluntarily take themselves offline on Wednesday 18 January as a protest against SOPA.
A second piece of legislation, the Protect IP Act (or PIPA), is due to be debated by the Senate on 24 January. It too has come in for serious criticism from the technological community.