In opposition to two controversial online piracy bills, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is promising to filibuster the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the wake of online protests.
The pair of bills in the House and Senate would use court orders to block access to foreign websites “dedicated to theft” through techniques such as disabling links to those sites. Supporters of the bill such as Hollywood studios, argue the laws protect U.S. copyrights and curb online piracy that those companies claim costs them billions each year.
But critics suggest the legislation would “censor the Internet” and protests against PIPA and SOPA resulted in the blackout of several popular websites such as Wikipedia, Reddit and Mozilla.
Paul says the bills would give the federal government control over the Internet and its free flow of information. He pledged to block any attempt to get the bill on the Senate floor.
From Paul’s office:
“The Internet, as we know it, has had a profound impact on job creation, the global economy and prosperity. It has accelerated wealth creation and facilitated a more connected world. But the Internet’s development is based on the free flow of information, innovation, and ideas, not central government control.”
Both PIPA and SOPA give the federal government unprecedented and unconstitutional power to censor the Internet. These bills enable the government to shut down websites that it deems guilty of violating copyright laws. While we support copyright protections, we are also concerned about websites being shut down without their day in court, and making innocent third parties bear the costs of solving someone else’s problems.
I will not sit idly by while PIPA and SOPA eliminate the constitutionally protected rights to due process and free speech. For these reasons, I have pledged to oppose, filibuster and do everything in my power to stop government censorship of the Internet.”
Several lawmakers have already dropped their support of the legislation as a result of the protests.