Senate postpones PIPA vote

James Losey from the New America Foundation sez, "Great news, the PROTECT-IP Senate vote scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed!"

Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid [ed: D-NV, Senate Majority Leader] released the following statement today on the Senate’s PROTECT I.P. Act: "In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act..."

Reid Statement On Intellectual Property Bill


  1. They’ll try passing it when the huge influx of people brought through by the blackouts and other doings get bored and wander off.

  2. It’s probably the same delay tactics they keep using in Israel’s biometric database legislation. Keep postponing it, let the public forget, force the protesters to regroup each time, make the public tired of all this, time your moves with more interesting news (wars, elections, etc.). Doesn’t say they’ll win, but that’s the general idea IMHO.

    1. That would be better, but this is better than if it went ahead and got voted into law.

      Best case means that it’s going back and there will be an attempt to actually address the legitimate concerns that have been raised by the folks protesting it.  Worst case is that this is a feint to allow for the fury to die down and they’ll try again with cosmetic changes.  Somewhere in between they’ll talk to the biggest corporate names that participated in the black out (Google for instance), find out what it will take to shut them up next time, change that if they can and try again.

      That’s how sausage gets made in the US.  You can never stop moving and there’s never an actual final win.  You always have to stay engaged and watch for some other interest group trying to come in and squish what you have.  That’s been true pretty much since the founding of the Republic.  The only thing that’s changed is the orders of magnitude of cash that gets thrown around today relative to what it was like when the Founders were helping one group to the detriment of another.

  3. How about a more proactive approach?  How about some legislation PROTECTING INTERNET FREEDOMS.  A.K.A PIFA.  

    That would show the world we mean business when we say that Iranians, Egyptians, Tunisians and Americans can tweet freely about the injustice and social upheaval in their faces. It would show the world that we value our Bill of Rights more than we fear evildoers.  That we love our freedom so much that we want to proselytize the world with it.

    1. Congresscritters, by definition are reactive animals.  Unless Google pays more for such affirmative legislation than the MPAA & RIAA are paying congress to stiffle the intertubes, it ain’t happening.

      But keep dreaming, you starry-eyed optimist, you!

      1. Sure, but if we can pass acts like HIPAA, FOIA or RFRA, even the ADA, then we can do something like this.  Google is self-interested, so if it’s worth it to them for the Interwebs to be free, I’m sure they are already working on this.

        1. That same era also brought us DMCA, NAFTA and DADT.  It wasn’t all wine and roses.

          During the very one-sided House hearings, each of the sponsors tried harder than the previous to exclaim just how ignorant of the internet they are.  And proud of it, too, in many cases.  So, I’m sorry, I just can’t share your optimism. 

          1. I’m not very optimistic about THIS congress, but I reserve the right to be optimistic about a future congress.

  4. This is good news.  Did anyone really expect this issue to be dropped entirely?  At least there will be debate now; instead of total disregard.

  5. So we’ve gone from a vocal minority to a group who’s concerns are being taken seriously.

    Nice retread there boy. Do not thik we will forgive you for this. Ever.

  6. Gotta dito the above comments. Would be better to vote while the momentum is up and it’s in people’s mind.

  7. Suppose we use this new momentum to make a few changes? 

    1. Repeal the 17th amendment and give states their representation in Congress back.  California could have ended this with a one-sentence press release.   So could Texas, or New York or any other state that thinks the Internet is important.

    2. Convene an Article V convention (all 50 states have so petitioned now) to remind Congress of its Constitutional limits, and also to re-assert the basic safeguards against stupid legislation, like the fact that the House and Senate are checks against each other, not partners.

    3. Ratify an amendment that makes conference committees illegal.  The House and the Senate are not supposed to collude.  That is part of the separation of powers.

    4. Ratify an amendment that makes it illegal for the President to lobby Congress.  There is a reason the Executive and Legislative branches have separate buildings.  They aren’t supposed to cooperate either.

    5. Ratify an amendment that requires any Federal elected official to serve under oath while in office.  Then it will be against the law to vote on legislation they don’t read.

    The sooner we start enforcing the proper functioning of government, the sooner government will return to frustrating legislation, which is its purpose.

    1. Exactly, laws are not supposed to be easy to pass. They are supposed to be very difficult so that the country isn’t jerked around by every whim and fancy of a politician, interest group or popular opinion of the week.

      The sooner our government learns to operate within the precepts of it’s limited powers under the Constitution, both domestically and globally, the better.

    2. I agree with most of what you say, but I’m not sure that a repeal of the 17th amendment would be a good thing.

      If it were repealed, the selection of Senators would revert to how it used to be, which was election by the state legislators. There were some pretty big issues with this, so I’m not sure that going back to it would be a good thing.

      Democracy is not without its issues, but I think that allowing the electorate to choose Senators directly is, on balance, better than the alternative.



      Convene an Article V convention (all 50 states have so petitioned now) to…

      If I’m not mistaken, it was this kind of Article V convention that forced the issue and got the 17th amendment passed in the first place :)

      1. The problem with the Senate is that California has two Senators for 38 million people and Wyoming has two Senators for 570,000 people. I have 1/67th the influence in the Senate that someone from Wyoming has. I seriously doubt that the founding fathers envisioned that scenario.

        Senators should be voted in by the people. They shouldn’t be representatives of the individual States. The House already provides for that with proportional representation. Maybe we could group states into blocks for Senate representation.

        1. I have 1/67th the influence in the Senate that someone from Wyoming has. I seriously doubt that the founding fathers envisioned that scenario.

          I’m not a historian, but I’ve always thought that was more-or-less by design. The founding fathers had some concerns about democracy (of the direct-is) kind), and not really without reason. I kind of agree with Churchill in that famous quote: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

          I think, on balance, the founding fathers did a good job of balancing some issues for which there was no really “good” solution. Can’t say that about the politicians who came after them, who seem to dry to undo that balance at every opportunity!

          1. I’m not a historian, but I’ve always thought that was more-or-less by design.

            I don’t think so.  I really doubt that they thought about a situation where one state would be 67 times more populous than another.  And yet have instantaneous access to exactly the same news and cultural excrement offerings.

            The whole concept of States in the US is essentially post-feudal and was largely set up to protect slavery.  We’re either a nation or we’re not.  With instantaneous communication, there’s no reason to have autonomy beyond what’s needed to deal with local conditions such as geography and climate.  Human and civil rights should be the same for everyone.  We should dump this States’ Rights idea and go with administrative districts.

        2. The founding fathers did envision the bicameral government in exactly the way it is otherwise the Constitution would never have passed. The senate was put there precisely because states like Rhode Island and Delaware would not have much voice in a proportional representative government. In the senate each state has exactly the same number of representatives.

          James Madison put out a series of articles about the Constitution called the Federalist papers to gain support for the document  and even so the Bill of Rights had to be tacked on. They’re good reading actually.

          Incidentally, Antinous, you have 2 senators and one representative which is more than I have as a Canadian (1 MP). Both senators in your state are your voice in the senate, therefore you have 1/50th influence in the Senate as opposed to 1/525th influence in the House.

          1. You don’t think it’s a problem that thirty-eight million people have the same representation in the Senate as five hundred and seventy thousand people?  Why should a state with almost nobody in it have the same voice in government as one with more than a tenth of the population?

  8. A Modest Proposal: It’s time for an Intellectual Property Tax.

    After all, if tangible property owners have to pay for the infrastructure, support, and defense of their property, surely owners of intangible property should be reimbursing the public for the time they use up in public courts, their distracting congress with copyright extension, and the opportunity costs they’re imposing on the public by patent trolling.

    (I’d link to a longer blog post on this, but don’t want to run afoul of anti-spam rules)

  9. I’m with the masses, I think this is a delaying tactic. Kinda like when there was a big pushback against the TSA backscatter machines, and they just pulled ’em out of service for a week, circumventing Opt-Out Day. You never heard about it in the news again.

  10. I did enough Model UN in high school to know that you table things like this for two reasons– one, to kill it silently, since it is easier to table it than bring it to vote, & you can always bury it at the bottom of the pile.  Two, to tuck it away in your pocket until most of the other schools have to go home, at which point you whip it out when no one is looking & pass it while they are distracted.

    Hm.  I wonder which this one is.

  11. “Counterfeiting and piracy cost the American economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs each year, with the movie industry alone supporting over 2.2 million jobs.”

    And the tech industry supports 4 million jobs Mr Senator.  Which industry do you think brings in more money to the country?

  12. Possible scenario ?

    If illegal content is posted on your website, the entire website can be shut down indefinitely. The wording of the bill is vague enough to apply to any website an American happens to find amusing enough to post on. So, the following situation is plausible: 

    An internet user in Iran or North Korea finds a link to 5 minutes of Justin Bieber, in audio, video, or even text format. This user ‘anonymously’ posts this link to a far-flung, loosely related page of the White House official website. With the powers invested in the copyright owners by SOPA or PIPA (the senate bill), Disney is now well within their rites to shut down the ENTIRE Official White House Website. There’s a nice kick in the pants.

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