In an extraordinary change of heart today, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has changed his mind about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) – and the forces allied against it – and pulled his bill from consideration by the House Judiciary Committee indefinitely. In addition, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has canceled the Jan. 24 Senate vote on its version of the legislation, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
I applaud these reasoned actions, because now the conversation can shift to where it should be focused: on how to protect intellectual property intelligently. Nobody wants content to be pirated. As a creator of content myself, I most definitely want to be paid for my work. But there are better ways to do it than wiping out the Internet. After all, printing presses weren’t outlawed to stop libel. This is clearly a victory for those looking to preserve free speech and innovation on the Internet. However, the fight is far from over – for both sides. But without the threat of a flawed “fix” being rushed into law, all sides can work together to stop criminals.