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New opposition against PIPA

New opposition against PIPA

January 19, 2012 | By Mike Rose

Opposition to internet blacklist bills is growing, as over a dozen members of the Senate have come out against the U.S. Senate's controversial Protect IP Act (PIPA), sibling to the House's Stop Online Piracy Act.

As reported by Ars Technica, a total of 18 Senators have opposed the bill, in the wake of anti-internet blacklist bill protests from various websites across the internet. Among those who now oppose the act include seven now-former co-sponsors of the bill.

PIPA and SOPA are similar measures that would give the U.S. government and copyright holders the ability to block U.S. internet users from accessing sites accused of primarily being dedicated to copyright and trademark infringement.

But opponents to the bill raise questions about the bills' effectiveness against piracy, and how the measures would impact free speech on the internet.

Some members of tech-reliant sectors such as the video game industry have spoken out against PIPA and SOPA, calling them vague and too broad, which puts online services in jeopardy. But the game industry trade body Entertainment Software Association supports the measures.

Marco Rubio, a Republican Senator from Florida, explained that he has "legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government's power to impact the internet."

Elsewhere, PIPA co-sponsors Senators Roy Blunt, Orrin Hatch, David Vitter and Kelly Ayotte were amongst those who were originally co-sponsors of the bill, but have now come out in opposition of it.

A whip count by OpenCongress has found that PIPA currently has 35 supporters, 18 opponents, and 12 Senators who are leaning towards opposition. Around 35 Senators are yet to commit to a position on the bills.

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