OVERNIGHT TECH: Web finds its voice in online piracy debate

Smith was adamant the bill's provisions would not affect domestic sites, and still plans to continue marking up SOPA next month. He cited his decision to drop the legislation's Domain Name Service provision as evidence of his willingness to address legitimate concerns. But House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRestoring fiscal sanity requires bipartisan courage GOP congressman slams primary rival for Ryan donations Speculation swirls about Kevin McCarthy’s future MORE (R-Ohio) sounded BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRestoring fiscal sanity requires bipartisan courage GOP congressman slams primary rival for Ryan donations Speculation swirls about Kevin McCarthy’s future MORE-piracy-bill-lacks-consensus" href="http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/204907-boehner-piracy-bill-lacks-consensus">less confident about the bill's prospects of reaching the House floor for a vote.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidWATCH: There is no Trump-Russia collusion and the media should stop pushing this The demise of debate in Congress ‘North by Northwest,’ the Carter Page remake MORE (D-Nev.) plans to press forward with his plan to call for cloture on PIPA next Tuesday afternoon — despite Democratic Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care: Trump eases rules on insurance outside ObamaCare | HHS office on religious rights gets 300 complaints in a month | GOP chair eyes opioid bill vote by Memorial Day Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees MORE's (Ore.) promise to filibuster the bill. Several prominent PIPA supporters, including Republican Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioColbert: Students taking action on gun violence 'give me hope' Lawmakers feel pressure on guns Florida lawmaker's aide fired after claiming shooting survivors were 'actors' MORE (Fla.) and Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchOvernight Finance: NAFTA defenders dig in | Tech pushes Treasury to fight EU on taxes | AT&T faces setback in merger trial | Dems make new case against Trump tax law | Trump fuels fight over gas tax What sort of senator will Mitt Romney be? Not a backbencher, even day one Lawmaker interest in NAFTA intensifies amid Trump moves MORE (Utah), reversed their positions and now oppose the bill, casting doubt on Reid's ability to overcome Wyden's hold. Hatch's reversal in particular is a blow to SOPA supporters, as were these comments from Judiciary ranking member Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Congress fails miserably: For Asian-Americans, immigration proposals are personal attacks Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees MORE (R-Iowa):

“It’s critical we protect the intellectual property rights of our businesses and fight online infringement, but at the same time, we can’t do harm to the internet, the Constitution, or the ability of businesses to grow and innovate. Internet piracy is illegal, and we need to find a way that works for all sides. ...

“The current Protect IP Act needs more due diligence, analysis, and substantial changes. As it stands right now, I can’t support the bill moving forward next week.”

Senate staffers said Reid will work with critics to address concerns about the legislation before the vote, citing Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyGrassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees Popular bill to fight drug prices left out of budget deal Judiciary Dems want public hearings with Kushner, Trump Jr. MORE's (D-Vt.) pledge to re-examine the DNS blocking provision in PIPA. But Leahy stopped short of saying he would remove the language, and critics are unlikely to be satisfied with minor tweaks to the legislation. Most Web companies appear dead set against anything resembling PIPA or SOPA passing Congress, leaving the door ajar for the alternative OPEN Act, offered by opponents including Wyden and House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).


"Today thousands of websites have chosen to voluntarily go offline or modify their home pages with public service information. Some have called this a stunt. I say it’s a brave and poignant reminder that we can’t take the Internet for granted. ... Protect IP (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are a step towards a different kind of Internet. They are a step towards an Internet in which those with money and lawyers and access to power have a greater voice than those who don’t." — Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

"With the opponents of the bill trafficking in misinformation, fear tactics and public relations stunts like blacking out their websites — in essence censoring the Internet themselves — we thought it more important than ever to get the message out that these bills are reasoned, narrow, effective and necessary measures to combat foreign rogue sites which are preying on American consumers and costing American jobs." — Mike Nugent, executive director, Creative America

“Today, thousands of websites and millions of Americans are standing up to protest the internet censorship bills currently moving through Congress, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). These bills would set a dangerous precedent and represent a big step backwards in Washington's efforts to foster growth in the digital sector. These bills would have a profound effect on how the internet functions on a basic level, undermining the legal process and overturning long-standing practices established in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act." — Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.)

Issa introduces OPEN Act: House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) introduced his Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN) with eight Republican and 16 Democratic co-sponsors on Wednesday, capitalizing on the publicity generated by the protests against SOPA and PIPA. With both sides conceding that something must be done about the problem of online piracy, the OPEN Act has emerged as tech industry-backed alternative that would focus more narrowly on cutting off streams of revenue to rogue sites. The content community remains unimpressed by the bill's approach, however.


“Illegal counterfeiting and piracy costs the U.S. economy $100 billion and thousands of jobs every year. The Wyden-Issa OPEN Act does not do enough to combat online piracy, and may make the problem worse. The OPEN Act makes the Internet even more open to foreign thieves that steal America’s technology and intellectual property without protecting U.S. businesses and consumers. The bill is not an effective tool for combating online intellectual property theft. The proposal amounts to a safe harbor for foreign criminals who steal American technology, products and intellectual property." — Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas)

“With every passing day it becomes more clear that the extreme strategies represented by the Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are not politically viable. It is time for Congress to concentrate on reasonable solutions, and move forward with the OPEN Act as an effective anti-piracy approach that does not cause collateral damage to innovation.” — Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro

Brendan Sasso and Molly Hooper contributed reporting to this post.

To receive Overnight Tech in your inbox every weeknight sign up for The Hill's News Alerts - Technology in the red box in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Follow Gautham on Twitter and email him with any tips or questions.