PIPA Goes the Way of SOPA As Senators Rush to Distance Themselves

Ooh, ooh, ooh. What a little blackout (and 4.5 million signatures) can do for you! In the wake of unprecedented opposition yesterday, at least 26 Senators, including seven former co-sponsors have disavowed themselves from the Protect IP Act (PIPA). PIPA is the Senate’s version of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which had stalled out in the House under similar duress.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), one of PIPA’s former co-sponsors decided the bill was “simply not ready for prime time.”

Eighteen of the Senators now opposed are Republicans. Previously, as VentureBeat reports, PIPA had support from more than 40 Senators, who co-sponsored the bill. We’re currently having trouble accessing the OpenCongress site, however, earlier reports say the bill still had support from 33 senators, with a number of others who still have not made their position clear.

According to ArsTechnica, the Republicans suddenly scrambling in the other direction are now bolstered by conservative pundits:

“Those who dropped their support were most likely bolstered by strong opposition from conservative think tanks and blogs. On Tuesday, the influential Heritage Foundation announced that it would include SOPA and PIPA as a key issue on its voter scorecard. And the popular conservative blog redstate.com, whose founder threatened to mount primary challengers to SOPA supporters last month, has been hailingSenators who come out in opposition.”

Marco Rubio (R-FL), for example, a freshman “rising star,” withdrew his co-sponsorship based on “legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government’s power to impact the Internet.”

Now that Republicans have been given the go-ahead by their elders that its okay to side with the Internet, expect more partisan in-fighting and less attention paid to actual solutions for policing piracy. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), says Ars Technica, blamed Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for “pushing forward w/ a flawed bill that still needs much work.” And yes, that’s Sen. Blunt, the bill’s former co-sponsor.

We will update the post as we learn more.

PIPA Goes the Way of SOPA As Senators Rush to Distance Themselves