Leahy claims blackout sponsors ‘misunderstand’ PIPA legislation

English: Patrick Leahy
Sen. Patrick Leahy

A Politico post this evening quotes Sen. Patrick Leahy, (D-VT), author of the Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA), who issued a dismissive statement today. Referring to Wikipedia, Reddit, and other companies supporting tomorrow’s Internet blackout, he said:

Perhaps if these companies would participate constructively, they could point to what in the actual legislation they contend threatens their websites, and then we could dispel their misunderstandings.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), author of the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) issued a statement in which he referred specifically to Wikipedia:

It is ironic that a website dedicated to providing information is spreading misinformation about the Stop Online Piracy Act. The bill will not harm Wikipedia, domestic blogs or social networking sites. This publicity stunt does a disservice to its users by promoting fear instead of facts.

Now I ask you, who do you think knows more about the workings of the Internet, Leahy and Smith or Wikipedia, Reddit, WordPress, Mozilla, and the hundreds of thousands of individuals who use it every day?

9 thoughts on “Leahy claims blackout sponsors ‘misunderstand’ PIPA legislation

          1. I think in this case, though, “gray-haired” is not to be taken figuratively, but metaphorically as someone living in the past and not understanding the present – with a dash of closed-mindedness.

  1. Actually, I think wikipedia did a pretty good job of explaining the issue indiscriminately.


    It’s an interesting issue. I understand the point of the legislation, and I don’t disagree with protecting intellectual property or preventing the sale of illegal pharmaceuticals that may end up sickening users (or just ripping them off). As I understand it, the main contention with SOPA is how it is to be enacted and enforced. Forcing DNS and search engines to remove links to these sites is going to be expensive and difficult. It would seem that a better solution to stopping people from pirating movies and selling fake drugs online would be to hunt them down and kill them. But, so far, the technology required to allow us to shoot people over the internet has eluded us. This is, perhaps, fortunate, for on that day the world population shall decrease mightily. Imagine the stench from offices world-wide from all the rotting corpses!

    1. As a former editor, I’m among the first to defend intellectual property and copyright. But we already have laws on the books to do that on the Internet. You’re correct: It’s SOPA/PIPA’s enforcement methods that are far too broad and indiscriminate. And worse, they put the burden of proof on the accused. You are presumed guilty (and therefore shut down) until you can prove you are innocent. That flies in the face of American jurisprudence, where you are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

      Your solution eliminates all the middle men, the lost time, and the legal hassles and expense, and has the added population-reduction feature, which is certainly a big plus. However, it might run in to a tiny bit of resistance from the Supreme Court …

... and that's my two cents