PIPA and SOPA: What you need to know
As PIPA and SOPA work their way through Congress, the controversial bills have raised many questions. The most common: Wait, what are PIPA and SOPA?
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Q. Who are the opponents?Skip to next paragraph
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A. In addition to Wikipedia, many major Internet and technology companies, including Google, Yahoo!, Amazon.com and eBay, are part of the NetCoalition group opposing the bills. Disparate political groups such as the liberal Democracy for America and the conservative Heritage Action have also voiced concerns about censorship.
Q. What is the status of the bills?
A. Momentum for the bills has slowed, giving the edge to Silicon Valley over Hollywood. The Senate, as its first major business when it returns to session next Tuesday, is to vote on whether to take up the bill. Sixty votes are needed to clear that legislative hurdle. It's unclear whether supporters have the votes.
Six Republicans on the Judiciary Committee last week wrote Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., saying that while the problem of intellectual property theft must be addressed, "the process at this point is moving too quickly" and a vote on moving to the bill "may be premature."
Reid replied that the vote will occur as scheduled, saying that while the bill was not perfect and he had urged Leahy to make changes, the issue was "too important to delay."
In the House, Judiciary Committee Chairman Smith said his panel would resume deliberations on SOPA in February. Meanwhile, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and an ally of the high-tech industry, said he had received assurances from GOP leaders that anti-piracy legislation would not move to the House floor this year unless there is a consensus on it.
Issa, and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., are pushing an alternative to SOPA and PIPA that would make the International Trade Commission, which already is in charge of patent infringements, responsible for taking steps to prevent money and advertising from going to rogue sites.
Issa formally introduced his bill Wednesday, saying the Internet blackout had "underscored the flawed approach taken by SOPA and PIPA" and his bill was "a smarter way to protect taxpayers' rights while protecting the Internet."
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