January 19, 2012
Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul has promised to do everything within his power to ensure the draconian Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are not brought to a vote.
Paul says he will filibuster PIPA in the Senate owing to the fact that the bill is a direct threat to the First Amendment.
“Both PIPA and SOPA give the federal government unprecedented and unconstitutional power to censor the Internet,” Paul said in a statement. “These bills enable the government to shut down websites that it deems guilty of violating copyright laws.”
Paul continued: “While we support copyright protections, we are also concerned about websites being shut down without their day in court, and making innocent third parties bear the costs of solving someone else’s problems.
“I will not sit idly by while PIPA and SOPA eliminate the constitutionally protected rights to due process and free speech. For these reasons, I have pledged to oppose, filibuster and do everything in my power to stop government censorship of the Internet,” Paul said.
As we have documented, SOPA and PIPA are bills essentially written by powerful lobbyists for the entertainment industry. They do not effectively stop real piracy, rather they target websites, giving the government the power to seize any site of its choosing and take it offline should the site be deemed to be infringing copyright.
What actually constitutes infringement of copyright according the the legislation, however, is so broad that a site could be targeted merely for displaying a hyper link.
Rob Beschizza, the managing editor of Boing Boing.net, a popular blog, explains futher:
Following an internet wide protest against the legislation yesterday, several lawmakers have defected and dropped their support for SOPA and PIPA.
A test vote is scheduled in the Senate for next Tuesday, the House will address the legislation sometime in February.