This week sites like Wikipedia held a 24 hour black-out in protest against the proposed online piracy act. This is because, in simplistic terms the act may seem fair, but it could have a far reaching damaging effect on the world-wide-web. The Internet has been bombarded with complaints about SOPA and its potentially negative effects. Finally the protests have been heard and SOPA has been postponed.
An announcement by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) stated that the government "will postpone consideration of the legislation until there is wider agreement on a solution." He went on to say, "It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products."
This happens to many countries around the world though and it is fair to say governments will have to decide how they will tackle such issues. The Internet is a powerful tool which will suffer if regulated too tightly. SOPA is not a good move forward though. It should be a case of back to the drawing board whilst politicians work out a sensible plan.
As the proposals stand they would be far too restrictive and so self defeating. In the GOP debate of Thursday January 20, 2012, the remaining four candidates tried their best to alienate themselves from the online piracy issues. They will not want to jeopardise their GOP campaigns. None of them though promised that if they were returned to office they would not instigate such an Act.
Perhaps today's postponement is more down to the 2012 election than much else. Both sides will be aiming to secure the support of the biggest majority of the population. They need to remember the old adage thabout not beig able to please everyone though. Sometimes in trying to do so you actually please no-one.
The good news for now though is that SOPA and PIPA have been postponed indefintely. It is expected that some form of legislation will sooner or later be implemented but perhaps now it will be something that is acceptable to all. For now it is a victory for the Internet and its many users.