As Keegan Gibson writes over at PoliticsPa, congressman Tim Holden today withdrew his sponsorship of the Stop Online Piracy Act in the face of massive public outcry over the proposed bill. (Wikipedia, Google and others in the tech world worry it will have unintended consequences and put a chill on tech intervention. )
Is Bob Casey next?
Casey is one of 40 co-sponsors of the Senate version of the bill (the Protect IP Act, aka PIPA), which has also taken heat from conservative circles for allegedly "allowing Eric Holder to take control of the internet and shut down websites he does not like."
UPDATE 1/19/2012: Casey said in an interview that he remains in favor of efforts to protect intellectual property and trademark rights, but would support provisions protecting free speech concerns.
"We've got to figure out ways to get tough, but also be consistent on free speech and making sure people have access to all kinds of information," he said during a visit to Pittsburgh Thursday. "I think there's a way to get there and I think folks on both sides -- at least on the Judiciary committee -- can accelerate those discussions."
He said his Senate office received a high number of calls on the legislation, but staffers had not totaled them up.
UPDATE: According to ProPublica data, Casey received six times as much in campaign donations from the pro-legislation TV/movie/music industry ($75K) as he did from the tech industry ($12K).
UPDATE 1/19/12: U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey has announced his opposition to the bill. His statement:
“Piracy of intellectual property is a legitimate concern that should be addressed. However, the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Internet Piracy Act are flawed, and I cannot support them in their current form. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues on this issue and finding a better legislative approach for tackling online piracy,” Sen. Toomey said.
GOP US Senate candidate Steve Welch, a Chester County entrepreneur, was the first of those trying to unseat Casey to take him to task for the bill:
"As someone who has been intimately involved in the startup of multiple web-based companies, this SOPA/PIPA legislation is the perfect example of how out–of-touch Washington is with the real world. Protecting Intellectual Property Rights is something we need discuss. However, SOPA/PIPA goes beyond that and is just another regulation being shoved down the throats of Americans that will empower the regulators and power brokers in Washington, and infringe on every citizen’s First Amendment rights. Giving bureaucrats in Washington the power to shut down and censor websites based on very loosely-defined terms in this legislation is completely unacceptable.”
“Senator Casey has no clue how damaging this type of legislation could be and how it would affect people in the real world. This is just another example of how Senator Casey sees the federal government as the solution. He only knows how to grow government, since he has spent his life in government.”