(Kansas City, MO) -- Missouri Senator Roy Blunt and Arkansas Senator John Boozman are withdrawing support for the Protect IP Act.
Some major websites are taking part in today's Internet blackout to protest anti-piracy bills in Congress, including Wikipedia. It's one of dozens of sites protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), set for a Senate vote next week, and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). Online search giant Google has a black box over its name on its homepage, although the site is not dark.
Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) writes, "while I believed the bill still needed much work, I cosponsored the Senate version of the Protect IP Act because I support the original intent of this bill - to protect against the piracy of lawful content.
"Upon passage of this bill through committee, Senate Judiciary Republicans strongly stated that there were substantive issues in this legislation that had to be addressed before it moved forward. I agree with that sentiment. But unfortunately, Senate Leader Harry Reid is pushing forward with legislation that is deeply flawed and still needs much work. That is why I'm withdrawing my co-sponsorship for the Protect IP Act."
Backers of the legislation say it would give copyright holders and the federal government more control over some online content.
Blunt adds, "I continue to believe that we can
come to a solution that will cut off the revenue sources for foreign websites
dedicated to counterfeiting and piracy that steal American jobs, hurt the
economy, and harm consumers. But the Protect IP Act is flawed as it stands
today, and I cannot support it moving forward."
Meanwhile, John LaBomard, spokesman for Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), released this statement Wednesday: "The provisions of this legislation are in flux. While Claire wants to make sure we can catch the frauds and cheats, she also has real concerns about limiting the freedom of the internet. She will continue to evaluate as the provisions are finalized."
Update: Senator John Boozman (R-Arkansas) released this statement via Facebook today, announcing his withdrawal of support:
"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 (S.968, the PROTECT IP Act) in its current form. That is why I am announcing today that I intend to withdraw my support for the Protect IP Act.
I will have my name removed as a co-sponsor of the bill and plan to vote against it if Majority Leader Reid brings it to the floor in its current form.
The PROTECT IP Act seeks to address an issue that is of vital importance to the future of intellectual property rights in the modern era. However, the concerns regarding the unintended consequences of this particular bill are legitimate. Therefore, we should not rush to pass this bill, rather we should be working to find another solution so that the epidemic of online piracy is addressed in a manner that ensures innovation and free speech is protected. I have confidence that we can do this, but not as the PROTECT IP Act stands today.
piracy hinders creativity and steals jobs. Much of this criminal behavior
comes from rogue websites operating in countries like
"The goals of the Protect IP Act are commendable, but the potential for damaging unintended consequences is its major flaw. Moving forward, I will work with my colleagues, the stakeholders and the American people to find a workable solution that protects intellectual property rights while promoting an open and vibrant Internet.
"I want to thank you for raising your concerns about this bill. Your voice has been heard."