Senator adds voice to anti-SOPA campaign

Ron Wydon comes out against the bill and helps to add 100K signatures
Kerry Butters

November 29, 2011

More opposition has emerged to the US anti-piracy act SOPA, as a US Senator has set up a website, Stop Censorship, urging US citizens to add their voice to the opposition of the bill.

Senator Ron Wydon is pledging to read out every name that joins him by ‘filibustering’ if it comes up for a vote.

Filibustering is the right to an ongoing debate which permits a senator to speak for as long as they wish on a topic of their choice.

It can only be stopped if two-thirds of the senate vote to bring the debate to a close.

Senator Wydan has suggested that he simply read out all of the names he collects in opposition to the bill from “the floor of the senate” and will “try to enter the rest into congressional record.”

“Bills like PIPA and SOPA will do lasting damage to one of the fastest growing, job-creating sectors of our economy: the Internet,” Wyden says in a YouTube video on Stop Censorship .

“The at-all-costs approach that these bills take to protect the intellectual property sacrifices cyber-security while restricting free speech and innovation.”

The senator is working in collaboration with Demand Progress, who said on Twitter last night that Wyden’s involvement had already added in excess of 100,000 signatures to the cause.

Demand Progress campaigns for “policy changes for ordinary people” and “tend[s] to focus on issues of civil liberties, civil rights, and government reform.”

The company is one of many that are campaigning against SOPA in the US, a bill thought to be so flawed as to have the potential to seriously damage internet innovation and affect civil rights, alongside providing potentially unlawful censorship.

Last week the European Court of Justice overturned a ruling which ordered a Belgian ISP to block access to file-sharing sites, after it was found to be unlawful and infringing on internet freedom.

Demand Progress say that the campaign is gathering speed after Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi and Republican Darrell Issa spoke out, and said that the bill now stands “no chance of passage.”

The campaigners say that overall more than 700,000 signatures have been sent to congress and they urge voters who are opposed to the bill to continue adding their voice.

Many reports damn Hollywood for applying pressure to governments to take legal steps in what should be a civil matter.

Many believe that the movie industry should take more action to invest in streaming movie services, which it has already been proven that people will pay for.

It is thought that piracy has been reduced by half over the past decade due to streaming services emerging.

However, a recent report found that not only can viewers not get reasonable access to the latest films online, when they do, they pay more than they would if they had bought the DVD.

Industry insiders are urging movie makers to address the problem by moving the industry into the digital era and providing users with what they want, rather than taking further steps to injure innovation and internet freedom.

If the opposition to SOPA continues to grow, and indeed if the rest of the world joins in, then movie moguls may eventually have no choice but to get with the program.

However, it doesn’t seem likely to happen in the short term, even as more and more big names such as Google and Facebook continue to step up and offer protestations against the bill.

Whilst none of the interested internet companies are disputing that piracy is a crime, the bill could have long-reaching effects if it’s allowed to be passed through.

This could include a negative effect on the economy, and the danger of stifling technology and internet companies which are continuing to grow and generate new jobs and healthy profits.


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