SOPA is dead. Lamar Smith, the Republican from Texas who was the chief sponsor of the bill, has pulled it pending further notice. Supporters of a free and open internet are rejoicing. But it is also important to remain vigilant.
First, let’s take a moment to recognize that this is a solid victory. Americans educated themselves about SOPA, spread the word to their friends, and contacted their senators and congressional representatives en masse to explain their thoughts, crashing various government sites in the process.
Our voice was heard loud and clear. Had SOPA gone to a vote, I expected it to fail. But now that it has been pulled, we need to make just as big a deal about the bill’s failure as we did its very existence. One very much like it will be back eventually. It is only a matter of time. We must be ready.
Meanwhile, Megaupload and Megavideo, two of the world’s most popular file-sharing sites, have been taken down in a hard-line stance against copyright violation. But many have accused the government of going too far. The hacker group Anonymous has already struck back, targeting the Justice Department website, as well as the sites of several media conglomerates that supported SOPA.
So the question must be asked: do the feds even need SOPA? Will the death of SOPA really stop the government from continuing their infringement upon a free and open internet?
If not, what are we prepared to do about it?