The misguided proponents of the disastrous Internet blacklist bills have blinked. Today, Senator Harry Reid announced he would postpone a cloture vote on PIPA scheduled for next Tuesday, which means, as a practical matter, that the bill is dead for now. Shortly after that announcement, Representative Lamar Smith issued a statement conceding PIPA's evil House stepsister, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also wasn't ready for prime time.
This is great news, and it is a direct result of this week's mass protests. Together, we reminded the U.S. Congress who it works for. EFF alone helped users send more than 1,000,000 emails to Congress, and countless more came from other organizations. Web traffic briefly brought down some Senate websites. 162 million people visited Wikipedia and 8 million looked up their representatives’ phone numbers. Google received more than 7 million signatures on its petition. Everyone who wrote, called, and visited their Senators and Representatives this week sent a message that laws affecting the Internet can't be made in a backroom by insiders bearing campaign cash.
So be proud, Internet: we not only took back the democratic process, we dragged it into the 21st century and stopped the United States from embracing a new, unconstitutional censorship regime. Well done.
Of course, the fight is not over. Big media companies aren't going to give up their efforts to persuade Congress that they need new legal hammers. They just don't get that they have a business problem that needs a business solution. Heads up to the good people who are paying dues to the RIAA and MPAA: you should demand new leadership who has more interest in embracing the promise of the Internet than fighting it.
To the rest of us: Pat yourselves on the back and stay vigilant. And, consider doing one more thing: contact the members of Congress who have stood with the Internet from the beginning in opposing these bills and thank them: Senator Ron Wyden, Representative Darrell Issa, Representative Zoe Lofgren, and Senators Maria Cantwell, Jerry Moran, and Rand Paul.