WASHINGTON — Several lawmakers from Arkansas have raised concerns or dropped their sponsorship of the "Stop Online Piracy Act."
WASHINGTON — Several lawmakers from Arkansas have raised concerns or dropped their sponsorship of the “Stop Online Piracy Act.”
Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, late Wednesday withdrew his support for the anti-piracy legislation after receiving a deluge of on-line protests set off by Internet giants Google and Wikipedia.
U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., who had co-sponsored the Senate version of the bill, announced earlier Wednesday that he was pulling his support because Arkansans had voiced their opposition to it. Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also withdrew as co-sponsors.
Boozman posted a statement on his Facebook page Wednesday explaining his decision to drop his sponsorship of the bill.
“Over the past few weeks, the chorus of concerns over Congressional efforts to address online piracy has intensified. I can say, with all honesty, that the feedback I received from Arkansans has been overwhelmingly in opposition to the Senate bill,” he said.
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., who is not a co-sponsor, also issued a statement Wednesday expressing his concern that the bill has “too many unanswered questions” that could lead to many unintended consequences.
“We need a solution that will protect intellectual property without restricting American’s rights to an open Internet. I believe we can do better,” he said.
Griffin announced that he would remove himself as one of the original co-sponsors of the “Stop Online Piracy Act” that Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, drafted in late October. Three other co-sponsors Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., Tim Holden, R-Penn., and Benjamin Quayle, R-Ariz., have already scratched.
“It is time to press the reset button with regard to combating online theft. More work must be done by Members of Congress and the content and tech communities to reach consensus on this issue,” Griffin said.
The entertainment industry – movie, music and video game makers – have lobbied Congress to provide greater protections to copyright holders from online pirates.
Google, Wikipedia and other online technology companies oppose expanding government enforcement powers.
Griffin began Wednesday acknowledging the dispute but saying that lawmakers were rewriting the legislation to address the concerns. He expected that the House Judiciary Committee would succeed in producing an acceptable bill.
The committee spent two days in December working through 25 amendments to the bill before Congress adjourned for the year. They planned to continue refining the legislation when they returned this month. Griffin is a member of the committee.