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 BoehnerEthics panel reprimands Freedom Caucus chairman over handling of harassment allegations Pelosi allies rage over tactics of opponents Meet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time MORE (R-Ohio) sounded BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerEthics panel reprimands Freedom Caucus chairman over handling of harassment allegations Pelosi allies rage over tactics of opponents Meet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time 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 ReidDems wonder if Sherrod Brown could be their magic man Nevada New Members 2019 Meet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time 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 WydenHillicon Valley: Russian-linked hackers may have impersonated US officials | Trump signs DHS cyber bill | Prosecutors inadvertently reveal charges against Assange | Accenture workers protest border enforcement work | App mines crypto for bail bonds Dems demand answers from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint on internet throttling claims Warren, 2020 Dems target private immigration detention center operators MORE's (Ore.) promise to filibuster the bill. Several prominent PIPA supporters, including Republican Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillary advisers battle over whether she’ll run in 2020 Rubio defends '3 point kick' analogy: 'You think everyone who follows politics knows what a field goal is?' Lawmakers to introduce bipartisan bill targeting China's treatment of Muslims MORE (Fla.) and Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGinsburg attends Medal of Freedom ceremony amid recovery from fall Utah New Members 2019 Congress braces for high-drama lame duck 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 GrassleySenate barrels toward showdown over Trump's court picks Trump set to have close ally Graham in powerful chairmanship Overnight Health Care — Presented by The Partnership for Safe Medicines — GOP lawmaker pushes back on Trump drug pricing plan | Pfizer to raise prices on 41 drugs next year | Grassley opts for Finance gavel 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.”

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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 LeahyTrump set to have close ally Graham in powerful chairmanship Senators introduce Trump-backed criminal justice bill Dem senators want hearing on funding for detained migrant children 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.).

Reactions:

"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.

Reactions:

“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.

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