Rubio: On second thought, SOPA/PIPA’s a bad idea

posted at 10:00 am on January 18, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The SOPA/PIPA Internet blackout has delivered a message to at least one elected official in Washington, DC.  Tea Party favorite Senator Marco Rubio announced a few minutes ago on his Facebook page that he has abandoned his support for the Senate PIPA bill and will ask Harry Reid to withdraw it.  And considering that Rubio co-sponsored the PIPA bill, this is fairly significant news:

In recent weeks, we’ve heard from many Floridians about the anti-Internet piracy bills making their way through Congress. On the Senate side, I have been a co-sponsor of the PROTECT IP Act because I believe it’s important to protect American ingenuity, ideas and jobs from being stolen through Internet piracy, much of it occurring overseas through rogue websites in China. As a senator from Florida, a state with a large presence of artists, creators and businesses connected to the creation of intellectual property, I have a strong interest in stopping online piracy that costs Florida jobs.

However, we must do this while simultaneously promoting an open, dynamic Internet environment that is ripe for innovation and promotes new technologies.

Earlier this year, this bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and without controversy. Since then, we’ve heard legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government’s power to impact the Internet. Congress should listen and avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences.

Therefore, I have decided to withdraw my support for the Protect IP Act. Furthermore, I encourage Senator Reid to abandon his plan to rush the bill to the floor. Instead, we should take more time to address the concerns raised by all sides, and come up with new legislation that addresses Internet piracy while protecting free and open access to the Internet.

We’re not blacking out Hot Air today, but I did suspend the Obamateurism feature today to call attention to the protests.  Those protests are definitely having an impact, although National Journal reported earlier today that Reid still wants to move PIPA to a floor vote:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., appears intent on moving ahead with legislation that would provide new tools for curbing piracy and counterfeiting on foreign websites despite growing opposition that will culminate on Wednesday in an online protest by thousands of websites.

Reid announced last month that he intended to bring an intellectual-property bill known as the Protect IP Act to the Senate floor on Jan. 24 for a vote on whether to allow debate to begin on the legislation. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has been blocking the bill from moving to the floor since it was approved in May by the Judiciary Committee.

Now that one of the signatories to the bill has reversed course, it will make a floor vote even more problematic for Reid.  Plus, it’s doubtful that a companion bill in the House will get produced at all, which would make this a fairly significant political risk with no payoff in the end, especially since the White House has openly expressed its own misgivings over the bill.

No one disputes the need to protect and defend copyrights.  Most of the websites participating in this protest have an interest in battling piracy.  The need to protect copyrights, however, does not outweigh the need for checks on prosecutorial power and due process for the accused.  Rubio has belatedly gotten it right — Reid needs to pull back PIPA, the House needs to scratch SOPA, and both need to start over again in those efforts.


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Comment pages: 1 2

and both need to start over again in those efforts.

…Or they could just give the idea up.

If they really wanted to stop piracy, they would need to address the problems with copyright law, such as the ridiculously long time copyright lasts. (works by artists long dead are still copyrighted)

The bills aren’t really about piracy, anyhow. The entertainment industry isn’t willing to sell content online, so people are looking to other sources, such as independent artists on YouTube. It is those artists, not piracy, that are behind the entertainment industry’s demise. (more time on YouTube = less time in the theater) SOPA’s real design is to shut down independent artists, not to stop piracy.

Nephew Sam on January 18, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Glenn Reynolds had a great idea for “helping” Hollywood! (Read the article before freaking out at the ironic headline)

kunegetikos on January 18, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Too late.

I lost my best hope for Rubio.

He’s just like the rest of them,,, lacking common sense in leadership.

TheAlamos on January 18, 2012 at 12:54 PM

99% of people have no idea what this is -

jake-the-goose on January 18, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Woohoo! Finally I made the 1%.

Nordic on January 18, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Copyright infringement is theft.

John the Libertarian on January 18, 2012 at 12:06 PM

What in the world do you think makes you a libertarian? I’ve never seen someone call himself a libertarian while espousing anti-libertarian view after anti-libertarian view.

Dante on January 18, 2012 at 1:13 PM

I think it is a hopeful sign when a politician realizes an error and admits it.

lexhamfox on January 18, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Copyright infringement is theft.

John the Libertarian on January 18, 2012 at 12:06 PM

What in the world do you think makes you a libertarian? I’ve never seen someone call himself a libertarian while espousing anti-libertarian view after anti-libertarian view.

Dante on January 18, 2012 at 1:13 PM

That you find a problem with anything JTL stated in that comment speaks more to your lack of understanding of what it means to be a libertarian. How does one trying to protect that with they have artistic or intellectual right to, make them any less libertarian?

Are you just posting now to agitate with nonsense.

hawkdriver on January 18, 2012 at 1:18 PM

TheAlamos on January 18, 2012 at 12:54 PM

It doesn’t matter if he changes position on the issue. It wasn’t a concern to Marco because he hadn’t really through through the ramifications of the bill until us peasants told him so.

Notorious GOP on January 18, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Glad Rubio’s figured it out.

J.E. Dyer on January 18, 2012 at 1:40 PM

That you find a problem with anything JTL stated in that comment speaks more to your lack of understanding of what it means to be a libertarian. How does one trying to protect that with they have artistic or intellectual right to, make them any less libertarian?.

hawkdriver on January 18, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Read the links I posted on the prior page.

Dante on January 18, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Roy Blunt withdrew his support of the bill.

midgeorgian on January 18, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Dante on January 18, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Wasn’t Romney’s dad born in Mexico?

Cindy Munford on January 18, 2012 at 3:00 PM

What the crap was Rubio doing co-sponsering this to begin with? I haven’t been too happy with Senator Rubio lately..his support of our action in Libya and now this..yeah, his conservative credentials are dropping in my eyes

sadsushi on January 18, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Wasn’t Romney’s dad born in Mexico?

Cindy Munford on January 18, 2012 at 3:00 PM

I don’t know. What were the circumstances?

Dante on January 18, 2012 at 3:37 PM

What the crap was Rubio doing co-sponsering this to begin with? I haven’t been too happy with Senator Rubio lately..his support of our action in Libya and now this..yeah, his conservative credentials are dropping in my eyes

sadsushi on January 18, 2012 at 3:33 PM

He has a history of coming down against free speech.

Dante on January 18, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Had Rubio done his job, this bill wouldn’t have sailed unopposed through the Senate Committee…sad.

NORUK on January 18, 2012 at 3:57 PM

I think it is a hopeful sign when a politician realizes an error and admits it.

lexhamfox on January 18, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Amen. Romney doesn’t see the error in Romneycare which is not hopeful for America.

The silent majority was just too silent for too long. We have put up a racket these last few years, and we should never let our guard down.

jazzuscounty on January 18, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Is you or is you not my constituents? Rubio did his job and listened to the people that he represents, a rare quality indeed. His ability to admit he was wrong has confirmed my reasons for supporting him.

Jason100 on January 18, 2012 at 5:26 PM

So are the unconstitutional provisions of the NDAA.

FloatingRock on January 18, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Indeed, and it is tragic that it has received such little attention/opposition, and that it almost unanimously passed both Houses. It is so blatantly unconstitutional I would like to hope the courts will strike it down.

Though I’d note the irony of people like Zuckerberg and the lefties at Google opposing government control of the internet but not government control of everything else (like health care, what lightbulbs we use, etc.)

amerpundit on January 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM

True, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be consistent.

jjraines on January 18, 2012 at 6:23 PM

Ah, Jeb’s boy proves he can admit he’s wrong.

That’s a good dog Marco.

Remember who has the keys to the car….

WE DO!

– Tea Party

KirknBurker on January 18, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Too late.

I lost my best hope for Rubio.

He’s just like the rest of them,,, lacking common sense in leadership.

TheAlamos on January 18, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Marco Rubio IS……..

The Triangulator!!!

KirknBurker on January 18, 2012 at 8:01 PM

The entire body of Copyright and Patent laws need to be re-thought.

The original idea behind these laws was that protection for a limited time would be granted to the holder, in return for the societal benefit of open disclosure. This idea needs to be re-implemented for a 21st century environment.

And while we’re at it, we need to question why an “artist” who spends a relatively limited amount of time and effort creating a song on a CD gets paid each and every time it is played, while a bricklayer and the architect who put together the walls of a much-used building receive no revenue at all when people enter or otherwise “use” the building.

It seems to me that the central problem is the inequitable treatment of the “value of work”, and we need much better and more logical standards: the current ones are very fuzzy and illogical.

On one hand, we have a “value of work” which dictates that the “artist” should be entitled to a government guarantee of high payment for a limited, one-time effort. On the other hand, we have the “minimum wage,” often functioning as a ‘standard wage,’ which seems to represent the other extreme of the “value of work” concept. On what basis do we choose the valuation method, and why is the government involved?

This whole area is broken, but we need MUCH MORE than a “quick fix” to repair it: SOPA and PIPA must be defeated.

PS – I am a copyright holder, but I have no problem with “infringement” because I continue to add value…which degrades the value of any copies. Several years ago, our government refused to go after copyright violators, insisting that the copyright holder was responsible for policing his own work. So another question to be resolved is “why are certain politically-connected media types entitled to more government protection than everyone else”?

landlines on January 18, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Comment pages: 1 2