Heartland Institute Tech Experts React to Death of SOPA/PIPA Bills in Congress

Published January 20, 2012

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said Friday he will not take up the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) next week, saying he would “wait until there is wider agreement on a solution.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) also announced Friday he was cancelling a scheduled cloture vote on the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).

The moves essentially kill the bills in this Congress, two days after a “blackout” by popular sites such as Wikipedia and Reddit drew national attention to the legislation critics say would squelch free speech and enterprise on the Internet in the name of fighting piracy.

The following statements from technology and telecommunications experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Tammy Nash at [email protected] or Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected].

“The pulling of these bills is public-domain music to the ears of the hundreds of thousands of individuals who took the time to protest both bills during Wednesday’s SOPA Strike.

“The real piracy was recognized by Wikipedia, Reddit, dozens of other sites, and individual protestors who correctly perceived a proposed hijacking of the legislative process by politicians all too willing to do the entertainment industry’s bidding regardless of the serious consequences to freedom of speech, Internet infrastructure, and due process.”

Bruce Edward Walker
Managing Editor, InfoTech & Telecom News
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“The protection of intellectual property and copyrights is just as vital in the digital economy as in the brick-and-mortar world. And piracy of music, movies, and software is a crime that must be enforced against to ensure a healthy market that encourages and rewards creativity.

“But SOPA and PIPA were poorly written bills that took a sledgehammer to a problem that requires a legal scalpel. It was great to see Web heavyweights take a high-profile stand, and for good sense to so quickly prevail. Congress should think these issues through much more carefully and come back with a better solution next year.”

Jim Lakely
Co-Director, Center on the Digital Economy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 28-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; and Columbus, Ohio. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.