Reid punts on PIPA

posted at 11:35 am on January 20, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

And now, Cowboy Poetry Corner:

There once was a cowboy from Searchlight

Who tried to grab power through copyright

Reid’s Hollywood backers

Tried to claim all were hackers

But the Internet roped Reid in the fight.

Yeah, the meter’s off a bit, but I’m pretty sure I qualify for a government subsidy anyway.  And now, Harry Reid will have more time on his hands to get me the cowboy poetry cash, too:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will postpone a cloture vote on a controversial bill to crack down on foreign websites that use pirated content. His move comes after a public campaign by websites concerned the bill would expose them to lawsuits turned once bipartisan support for the measure to strong opposition in both parties.

“In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act,” Reid said in a statement. …

The vote was put off despite Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy’s continued efforts to cut a deal on an amendment that addressed critics’ concerns. Reid did not say when the bill may come up again.

That’s about as clear a retreat as one will see.  It’s an admission that PIPA and its companion House bill SOPA have become so toxic that they can’t be amended into acceptability. In order to proceed on a bill to act in protection of copyright and intellectual property, Congress will have to start from scratch, with a process that doesn’t give the federal government plenary powers to seize internet traffic without the proper run of due process.

Reid could try to keep PIPA off the agenda for a few weeks and try again later, with some amendments, but as it gets close to the election, the worse the stink will be.  PIPA and SOPA have bipartisan opposition, and the more Reid keeps pushing it, the more Republicans benefit from the fight.  Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) became the latest Republican co-sponsor to abandon the effort, calling to scrap the bills entirely:

Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, an early co-sponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), delivered a statement Thursday evening on Facebook renouncing her support of the bill in its current form. …

“It’s clear that online piracy legislation in its current form is not workable,” said Blackburn. “It’s time to scrap the bill and start over. I will continue to work with my colleagues to find the best possible solution to ensure the constitutionally guaranteed property rights of our nation’s innovators are protected.”

Well, every cowboy sings a sad, sad song … and Reid was starting to sing it solo.  The entertainment industry will double down on its pressure to get PIPA and SOPA revived, but don’t expect to see it this session, at least not in anything like its current form, and certainly not with the current bill titles.


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And the real winner is….Wikipedia

NerwenAldarion on January 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Now…How ’bout a budget, Sen. Wrinkle?

Weight of Glory on January 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM

“Reid “”punks” on SOPA.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on January 20, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Wait, aren’t Republicans supposed to be the ones who carry the water for big corporations and Democrats the ones who stand up for the rights of little people?

I’m so confused.

Socratease on January 20, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Behold the power of a fully operational blogosphere!

(take that, George Lucas)

iurockhead on January 20, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Great, now give us a budget you weasel.

Mord on January 20, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Of course, the writing was on the wall…so what do the feds do? They shut down Megaupload. Now there’s a hacker out there shutting down government websites (like fbi.gov) and industry sites like the RIAA and MPAA.

I hate to admit this, but the hacker is making me smile.

DRayRaven on January 20, 2012 at 11:44 AM

My comment from the headline thread:

This is a hollow victory. SOPA/PIPA was a trial run on behalf of those media corporations who wish to take total control of the flow of information. There is still H.R.1981, the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 – also submitted by one Lamar Smith of Texas. Any form of copyright enforcement imaginable can and most likely will be added to this bill as a means of combating child porn. They could copy and paste the entire SOPA text to the end of that bill and it will still pass unanimously – no one can be on record as “supporting child pornography”. Those corporate powers will still get what they want, they’ve just had fun toying with us in the first round.

ernesto on January 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Of course, the writing was on the wall…so what do the feds do? They shut down Megaupload. Now there’s a hacker out there shutting down government websites (like fbi.gov) and industry sites like the RIAA and MPAA.

I hate to admit this, but the hacker is making me smile.

DRayRaven on January 20, 2012 at 11:44 AM

They pretty much already have the power they wanted to grab with those laws. They just would have codified them like the PATRIOT act did for the police state, and the recent NDAA extension of that law did.

wildcat72 on January 20, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Yeah, the meter’s off a bit, but I’m pretty sure I qualify for a government subsidy anyway.

Ed, you may not get a subsidy for your cowboy poetry, but it’s enough to have you named as an Honorary Texan. Welcome aboard, Captain.

TXUS on January 20, 2012 at 11:48 AM

We are Borg.

SouthernGent on January 20, 2012 at 11:49 AM

They pretty much already have the power they wanted to grab with those laws. They just would have codified them like the PATRIOT act did for the police state, and the recent NDAA extension of that law did.

wildcat72 on January 20, 2012 at 11:47 AM

True, but the timing was NOT coincidental.

DRayRaven on January 20, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Hey Reid….take the extra time on your hands and PASS A DAMN BUDGET.

search4truth on January 20, 2012 at 11:49 AM

I think using web instead of internet in the last line would smooth it out.

Transpo on January 20, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Wait, aren’t Republicans supposed to be the ones who carry the water for big corporations and Democrats the ones who stand up for the rights of little people?

I’m so confused.

Socratease on January 20, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Yeah, it’s definitely been a goofy situation. We’ve got some Repubs and some Dems in favor of the bill, and some in each party opposed. Always makes for a political clusterfark.

Mr. Prodigy on January 20, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Behold the power of a fully operational blogosphere!

(take that, George Lucas)

iurockhead on January 20, 2012 at 11:41 AM

I don’t know. I have a bad feeling about this. What if it’s a trap?

Doughboy on January 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Bravo Ed

cmsinaz on January 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Budget schmudget WOG

It’s an election year

cmsinaz on January 20, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Yeah, the meter’s off a bit, but I’m pretty sure I qualify for a government subsidy anyway.

No…..it’s hauntingly beautiful Ed.

Add a cross in a jar of urine, and a few references to gay cowboy sex….and I’m thinking six-figure grant!

Tim_CA on January 20, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Reid is such a dirty snake. You know he’s going to end up pushing another overreaching bill with a different name to satisfy his radical leftist Hollywood donors.

Liberalism = controlling the masses.

Aizen on January 20, 2012 at 11:56 AM

I don’t know. I have a bad feeling about this. What if it’s a trap?

Doughboy on January 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Well played, young padiwan.

iurockhead on January 20, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Glad to see Dodd getting his knickers in a twist over this! Shows how uninfluential he turned out to be for his MPAA bosses. Not too mention Hollywood taking it in the chops as well. Preventing privacy and protecting copyright are laudable, but this government Big Brother approach wasn’t it!

Bob in VA on January 20, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Harry Reid, the gift that keeps giving. Has there ever been a more incompetent leader with so much power? Lyndon Johnson must be rolling in his grave to think his once powerful position has been turned over to a nimrod with zero credibility and even less influence.

Smedley on January 20, 2012 at 12:04 PM

My comment from the headline thread:

This is a hollow victory. SOPA/PIPA was a trial run on behalf of those media corporations who wish to take total control of the flow of information. There is still H.R.1981, the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 – also submitted by one Lamar Smith of Texas. Any form of copyright enforcement imaginable can and most likely will be added to this bill as a means of combating child porn. They could copy and paste the entire SOPA text to the end of that bill and it will still pass unanimously – no one can be on record as “supporting child pornography”. Those corporate powers will still get what they want, they’ve just had fun toying with us in the first round.

ernesto on January 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Winner, winner! Chicken dinner!

bgibbs1000 on January 20, 2012 at 12:04 PM

My comment from the headline thread:

This is a hollow victory. SOPA/PIPA was a trial run on behalf of those media corporations who wish to take total control of the flow of information. There is still H.R.1981, the Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 – also submitted by one Lamar Smith of Texas. Any form of copyright enforcement imaginable can and most likely will be added to this bill as a means of combating child porn. They could copy and paste the entire SOPA text to the end of that bill and it will still pass unanimously – no one can be on record as “supporting child pornography”. Those corporate powers will still get what they want, they’ve just had fun toying with us in the first round.

ernesto on January 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Then the Supremes will strike it down like they have all other regulations of the internet. The Internet is undefeated before the court, mostly because they don’t understand it and Thomas really, really, really likes his porn.

Smedley on January 20, 2012 at 12:10 PM

SOPA and PIPA are simply treading water until after the November 2012 elections. Then they will be back with a vengeance in one form or another.

The Hollywood elites are bread & butter for the Democrats. There will be blood… money.

SD Tom on January 20, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Yeah, the meter’s off a bit, but I’m pretty sure I qualify for a government subsidy anyway.

Ed, you may not get a subsidy for your cowboy poetry, but it’s enough to have you named as an Honorary Texan. Welcome aboard, Captain.

TXUS on January 20, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Hey, one of the best Cowboy Poets ever is from Texas. Red Steagall.

Del Dolemonte on January 20, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Now Reid has time to bring something else up for a vote…like maybe a budget.

RadClown on January 20, 2012 at 12:12 PM

i’m glad that politicians are backing away from the bills. but i am annoyed that so many of them only backed away after a ton of people protested. would it have killed them to do some research on the bill before they announce their support of it??? it’s easy to now say “i don’t support it” after all these outraged people protested it. but they should have been against the bill from the beginning.

same with the candidates. they were asked about SOPA after the big protest so it made their answer so easy. i wish they were asked about it weeks ago.

Sachiko on January 20, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Hollywood has come to view virtually every green screen/CGI box office BOMB as “an enduring franchise”. With a stream of royalties stretching to infinity and beyond.

They ‘like’ the internet b/c it enables them to reach out to that all important 18-35 demographic for basically nothing. They HATE the internet as it opens the door wide open to piracy! Nothing new about Progs wanting their cake and eating it too.

What concerns me, their ABUSING SOPA/PIPA to shut down sites like Hot Air as an ‘administrative function’ and of course the good of the public. We’ve already had a Hip-Hop website shut down for almost a YEAR at their discretion. Ultimately that domain was returned but as usual no explanation req.

Marshall_Will on January 20, 2012 at 12:22 PM

From the Politico article on same:

the Vermont Democrat [Leahy] said Internet thieves in China and Russia “are smugly watching how the United States Senate decided it was not even worth debating how to stop the overseas criminals from draining our economy.”

THEY are draining our economy? Are you frickin serious?

These folks are completely delusional.

With others, sign me up for one Budget please.

Hueydriver on January 20, 2012 at 12:25 PM

I would add that if China and Russia are smugly watching anything, it is our elected officials and their utter baffoonery in pretty much every regard. Pipelines, undeclared wars, trips to Disneyland, letters to Iran (“we promise not to hurt you”)…

Hueydriver on January 20, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Dodd & Reid.
Let Harry keep his glasses on…but picture this!…….
Tarred and feathered…sitting on a 4x4x8 foot board…as we run
them up and down the Capitol steps, while the MSM strains to hear some kind of old racial epitaph!

KOOLAID2 on January 20, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Is there anything this guy isn’t punting on these days? Budgets, confirmations, SOPA/PIPA…the list goes on.

(apropos nothing – whenever someone mentions PIPA – I think we’re about to talk about Prince William’s hot sis-in-law…and I have to re-orient myself to the conversation. Can we just narrow this down to calling it SOPA?)

CycloneCDB on January 20, 2012 at 12:34 PM

http://www.keepthewebopen.com/

The OPEN ACT is a much better alternative than SOPA/PIPA

CommentGuy on January 20, 2012 at 12:41 PM

http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/2012/01/manhattan-moment-rest-story-behind-obamas-recess-appointments/2109416#ixzz1juaj95M6

A good look at how Obama’s recess appointments tie into the whole SOPA game plan

CommentGuy on January 20, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Not over folks. Statists never give up.

rollthedice on January 20, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Not over folks. Statists never give up.

rollthedice on January 20, 2012 at 1:05 PM

And neither should we.

With every slight of hand these people plan, it makes me think that we need a brigade of our very own internal CIA-type sleuths who follow each machination to find where it leads next, what new form it morphs into and to expose it.

PatriotGal2257 on January 20, 2012 at 1:28 PM

So, a last minute vote at 3am when they forget to tell other Republicans will do it.

Egfrow on January 20, 2012 at 1:36 PM

“In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act,” Reid said in a statement. …

What an interesting choice of words.

Dante on January 20, 2012 at 1:37 PM

I hate to admit this, but the hacker is making me smile.

DRayRaven on January 20, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Why hate to admit it? I hope they keep up the civil disobedience. The government is in the wrong.

Dante on January 20, 2012 at 1:40 PM

And remember: intellectual property is a sham. It’s a government-mandated monopoly privilege.

The fraud that is intellectual property

Dante on January 20, 2012 at 1:44 PM

Now…How ’bout a budget, Sen. Wrinkle?

Weight of Glory on January 20, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Hey Reid….take the extra time on your hands and PASS A DAMN BUDGET.

search4truth on January 20, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Seriously. Quit pussyfootin’ around wit da’ cowboy poets and da’ innernet pirates and do yer job, Sen. Reidiculous!

stukinIL4now on January 20, 2012 at 1:58 PM

I read of a few amendments that would defang the greatest of the problems
1) $50,000 and 5X damages for improper shutdown, improper shutdown includes legitimate fair use elements as well as censorship, and legal fees. This makes robo-shutdowns financially insane.
2) waiver of government immunity. Open up government employee’s pensions to the lawsuits. This means that RightHaven, for example, can’t get an Eric Holder to do their dirty work and he get off scot-free.
3) specifically define “fair use” in a fashion that people (citizens and voters) agree with.

Pounding anyone abusing it would likely make the few questionable uses very public, and not buried under an avalanche of similar uses.

J’hn1

jhnone on January 20, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Does anyone know the proportion of intellectual property theft (by foreign countries) taking place online vs. theft taking place via more traditional espionage methods?

I do know there have been numerous cases of Chinese nationals, and some naturalized citizens, being found guilty of espionage only to receive very minimal sentences. I would think that reforming espionage sentencing guidelines to…shall we say more Rosenbergian penalties might deter some of this stuff. I seem to recall reading something about one Chinese dude who was caught in an FBI sting with an entire jet engine, from the F-22 or the Joint Strike Fighter if memory serves. Hang that joker at dawn.

Nom de Boom on January 20, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Yeah, it’s definitely been a goofy situation. We’ve got some Repubs and some Dems in favor of the bill, and some in each party opposed. Always makes for a political clusterfark.

Mr. Prodigy on January 20, 2012 at 11:50 AM

I’ll agree that it’s “some from both” but they’re not equal here…

http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/pipa#roll_call

36 Senators support PIPA, 24D, 1I (Liebermann, caucuses D) and 11R.

That’s 24 or 25 to 11 in the Senate (depending on how you count Lieberman)… More than a 2:1 ratio of Dems openly supporting the PIPA bill regardless of your count.

But there are more Dem Senators than Repub Senators you say?

http://projects.propublica.org/sopa/sopa#roll_call

26 open supporters for SOPA in the House:

15D and 11R. Closer, but the Dems still win and this is the Congressional House where they’re outnumbered.

So feel free to smack around the Repubs who are in support of this monstrosity; but they’re not the majority of open supporters in either the House or Senate.

Maybe next time I’ll break down all the explicit “no” votes; but I think the openly supporting “yes” votes are sufficiently meaningful.

gekkobear on January 20, 2012 at 11:43 PM