The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) appears to be dead, with chief sponsor Lamar Smith having pulled the bill in the wake of an unprecedented online ‘strike’. However, while many are celebrating the apparent death of SOPA, others are warning that this is just the latest development in an ongoing struggle that is far from won.
As the recent shutdown of Megaupload shows, even without SOPA (and its cousin PIPA) the US government and the entertainment industry already have wide-ranging powers that go beyond what many would consider reasonable. And it’s worth noting that the philosophy (and money) behind SOPA remains very much in place. The people who wanted to put SOPA into action are still in Washington and if they have recognised that ‘bad PR’ surrounding SOPA, that doesn’t mean they’ve given up.
Despite these warnings, it’s worth noting that the ‘strike’ earlier this week really did demonstrate for the first time that ‘the internet’ won’t just roll over when faced with downright stupid legislation. Washington can’t simply dictate terms, and neither can the entertainment industry. But they’re smart (in some ways) and they have a lot of money to burn through as they continue to try to get their way.