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Internet Protests Work: SOPA & PIPA Die, for Now

Source: Wikipedia.com

Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia did a brilliant job rallying millions of their users to oppose anti-piracy legislation being debated in Congress.

It worked. In the wake of massive outcry that dominated the Internet and media on Wednesday, congressional leaders are sending the bill back to the drawing board.

Friday, the author of SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, Representative Lamar Smith, said he’s postponing consideration of the bill in response to concerns that it could lead to censorship. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he’s indefinitely delaying Tuesday’s planned procedural vote on PIPA, which is the senate’s version of the SOPA bill.

As Internet companies from Google and eBay to Wikipedia and Reddit proselytized against these bills, saying that they’d end Internet freedom, a number of lawmakers reversed their positions. Even Senator Marco Rubio, an early proponent of the bill, backed off.

Now Chris Dodd, head of the MPAA, is appealing to Internet companies to meet with the media giants he represents. The MPAA says that Representative Darrell Issa’s proposed bill, which is backed by Internet companies, doesn’t go far enough. We’ll see if the White House can help bring the two sides into a compromise, but from a public relations perspective, the bill will have to look and sound a lot different to gain approval of the masses who spend their days on Google and Facebook.

In the meantime many are asking if new legislation is necessary, citing the fact that the Department of Justice took down file sharing site Megaupload.com, alleging massive piracy and copyright infringement. If the DOJ could seize property and make arrests without this legislation, is a new law necessary?

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.