Reid Caves on PIPA, For Now

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.)Pete Marovich/Zuma

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has postponed Tuesday’s scheduled procedural vote on the controversial Protect IP Act, or PIPA. Here’s his statement:

In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act.

There is no reason that the legitimate issues raised by many about this bill cannot be resolved. Counterfeiting and piracy cost the American economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs each year, with the movie industry alone supporting over 2.2 million jobs. We must take action to stop these illegal practices. We live in a country where people rightfully expect to be fairly compensated for a day’s work, whether that person is a miner in the high desert of Nevada, an independent band in New York City, or a union worker on the back lots of a California movie studio.

I admire the work that Chairman Leahy has put into this bill. I encourage him to continue engaging with all stakeholders to forge a balance between protecting Americans’ intellectual property, and maintaining openness and innovation on the internet. We made good progress through the discussions we’ve held in recent days, and I am optimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) request to delay the vote and Rep. Lamar Smith’s (R-Tex.) decision to postpone work on SOPA, PIPA’s counterpart in the House, surely contributed to Reid’s decision. The calculated retreats of a number of both bills’ original co-sponsors and the blackout on Wednesday mattered, too.

So what happens next? Reid will probably continue his doomed quest for a non-existent compromise between content providers (Hollywood) and the tech community (Silicon Valley). Remember, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)—an original co-sponsor of PIPA whose state hosts both communities—tried and failed to broker a compromise between the two groups in December. Nothing that’s happened since would improve the odds of a deal.  

As last night’s presidential debate showed, Republicans seem to understand that anti-SOPA/PIPA sentiment aligns rather handsomely with conservative values like free speech, fewer regulations, and less government. And the GOP knows full well that Hollywood—traditionally a core, generous constituency for Democrats—will be none too pleased with Reid’s decision to bow before the might of web geekdom.

For Republicans, opposing SOPA is a win/win. The only question is why they didn’t understand that earlier.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate