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US SOPA Bill Killed In Congress

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

The SOPA Anti-piracy bill has been scuttled, but the Senate’s PIPA bill sails on

The controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has been effectively killed in the US Congress.

SOPA, which would have required Internet companies to censor Internet links to sites deemed to be breaking copyright, inspired massive protest, including criticism from President Obama. Today, Republican senators have decided to withdraw the bill.

All SOPA action to cease

The bill died, when Republican Representative Eric Cantor(R-VA) announced that he will stop all action on SOPA. As Cantor is the Majority Leader in the House, this means it is ended.

SOPA was criticised for likely dire consequences to the Internet’s structure, and for interfering with free speech. The bill wouild require internet companies to censor links to sites believed to be hosting copyright material, and cut such sites off from services such as PayPal.

Opposition to the bill came from the IT industry, even including games makers, as well as Microsoft and members of the anti-piracy Business Software Alliance. One company which supported SOPA, regristrar GoDaddy, faced a consumer boycott losing 72,000 domains

Activists are celebrating the death of SOPA online, but the US upper chamber, the Senate, is still working on a smilar bill called PIPA.

Meanwhile, some commentators believe that Cantor’s decision was not to do with criticism from the left, but from the right. Requiring Internet companies to censor the Internet, was seen by many Republicans, as an unwarranted power grab, and a step towards centralised government authority. Cantor had “promised early on to do his best to kill SOPA”, alleged one commenter on Slashdot.