Looks like the big blackout protest is paying off. Today it was announced on the official facebook page of Sen. Marco Rubio that he no longer supports the “PROTECT IP Act” a bill he co-sponsored. In his statement the senator also urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to “abandon his plan to rush the bill to the floor.” PIPA is currently schedule to go before the full Senate for a procedural vote to begin debate on the bill on January 24.
His statement read as follows,
Better Way to Fight the Online Theft of American Ideas and Jobs
By Senator Marco Rubio
In recent weeks, we’ve heard from many Floridians about the anti-Internet piracy bills making their way through Congress. On the Senate side, I have been a co-sponsor of the PROTECT IP Act because I believe it’s important to protect American ingenuity, ideas and jobs from being stolen through Internet piracy, much of it occurring overseas through rogue websites in China. As a senator from Florida, a state with a large presence of artists, creators and businesses connected to the creation of intellectual property, I have a strong interest in stopping online piracy that costs Florida jobs.
However, we must do this while simultaneously promoting an open, dynamic Internet environment that is ripe for innovation and promotes new technologies.
Earlier this year, this bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and without controversy. Since then, we’ve heard 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. Congress should listen and avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences.
Therefore, I have decided to withdraw my support for the Protect IP Act. Furthermore, I encourage Senator Reid to abandon his plan to rush the bill to the floor. Instead, we should take more time to address the concerns raised by all sides, and come up with new legislation that addresses Internet piracy while protecting free and open access to the Internet."
The announcement comes after the mass blackout by some major internet companies and more than 7000 websites. The major players includeed Wikipedia, Craigslist, Reddit, and many others, intended to protest PIPA and the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA). The White House also said last weekend that it “will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.”